Petroleum Development Oman to help create job opportunities for 21,000 locals

Above, a Petroleum Development Oman facility near Muscat. (Reuters)
Updated 21 March 2019

Petroleum Development Oman to help create job opportunities for 21,000 locals

  • ‘We aim to create 21,000 job opportunities in 2019, and we are confident that we can achieve that number’

DUBAI: State-owned Petroleum Development Oman expects to create 21,000 job opportunities for Omanis this year through the oil exploration and production company’s training opportunities and other undertakings.

“We aim to create 21,000 job opportunities in 2019, and we are confident that we can achieve that number. These are real opportunities that lead to direct employment once the training is completed,” Raoul Restucci, the managing director of PDO, told the Times of Oman.

“A lot of the opportunities we are promoting today exist outside the oil and gas sector, whether it be in tourism, manufacture or logistics. While some of these jobs will be created by PDO, many of the Omanis will be employed by other organizations once they complete their PDO funded on-the-job training.”

The prospective jobs would be spread across multiple sectors – from oil and gas, manufacturing, tourism to logistics – as PDO works with the government in pushing the Omanization agenda.

PDO’s Restucci noted the company has already created more than 5,000 job opportunities so far this year. Meanwhile, the Omanization rate for PDO has reached 81 percent and the company’s target is to reach 90 percent by 2020.

“… the oil and gas sectors are highly Omanized, and where you have expatriates, is where you have a gap in skills, or more likely, experience,” Restucci said.


Saudi consumers give online retailer AliExpress boost in Middle East market

Updated 13 November 2019

Saudi consumers give online retailer AliExpress boost in Middle East market

  • AliExpress currently delivers to more than 200 countries and can be used in 18 languages
  • Around 60 percent of the consumers are below the age of 35, with 51 percent being female

DUBAI: Due to the increasing amount of purchases from the region, the Chinese e-commerce AliExpress has started offering several new services.
The growing demand came specifically from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where the retailer started offering consolidation of orders for cheaper delivery and cash on delivery as a payment option.
These services were tailored to consumers from the region, as the company knew “cash on delivery is very popular in Saudi and UAE,” according to AliExpress’s Middle East head, Matt Zhang.
The retailer, which is under the Chinese Alibaba multinational conglomerate, is also trying to expand its provided local services.
“We have an overseas warehouse in Dubai. We are trying to open a warehouse in Saudi. We are in the process of all the legal and facility planning,” Zhang said.
Sellers will have the chance to use this facility, which is usually stocked with high-demand items, to decrease delivery times.
They also use the local delivery company Aramex in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to decrease the amount of time required for orders to reach consumers.
“Cainiao works with local partners” to enhance the buying experience, Zhang added. Cainiao is a technological company and the logistics arm of Alibaba group, providing the various businesses under the conglomerate with a variety of solutions locally and globally.
All of these additions follow AliExpress’s main strategy to expand in the region, which is to provide “a good selection, more competitive price and good service,” Zhang said.
The e-commerce company has been working with a marketing agency for the region as well, as they believe they need “more local insights,” he added.
For consumers in Saudi Arabia, their top three categories for shopping are consumer electronics, home and garden, and phones and accessories.
One of the reasons why consumers choose to buy such items from AliExpress is the value for money they get in exchange.
Buyers and sellers are now able to skip the tedious process of export and import through warehouses and distribution centers, which shortens the whole value chain and provides the same goods for a smaller amount of money.
Another interesting defining factor of consumer behavior in Saudi Arabia is the tendency to explore more options under each category compared to other countries.
The top three categories make up less than 40 percent of the ordered products, leaving the remaining more than 60 percent scattered over a long list of sub-categories.
On top of AliExpress, Alibaba is penetrating the regional market in other ways too.
If you have noticed the recent 11.11 sales and offers, they have been inspired by a decade-long shopping festival in China.
Although 11.11 is just starting to bloom in the region, it is a long-established event in China featuring a variety of entertainment and shopping events.
The famous US singer, Taylor Swift, performed at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena during this year’s gala event for the shopping festival.
Several local retailers offered discounted items, ranging from baby care products, to groceries, to electronics and clothes.
At the end of the 24-hour shopping festival, Alibaba’s gross merchandise value (GMV) surpassed $38 billion, according to the company.
Alibaba reported that over 215 leading international brands, like Lancome and Shiseido, debuted one million new products, with over 240 11.11 themed items, during the 2019 festival.
The conglomerate is currently focusing on new retail in China, or as they have explained, an offline and online shopping experience. Tmall customers can view products online, and either buy them through delivery of find the nearest outlet to check the items in real life.
They are also undertaking new ventures in the country, such as the Flyzoo hotel in Hangzhou, which is fully automated and is operated by robots.
AliExpress currently delivers to more than 200 countries and can be used in 18 languages. Around 60 percent of the consumers are below the age of 35, with 51 percent being female.
Currently, the countries with the highest GMV are Russia, Spain, France, Poland and Brazil.
The retailer is also working on offering more international businesses to operate on their website and sell products. The service has already been launched in Russia and Turkey.