Amazon Prime launches in Saudi Arabia, bringing the best in shopping & entertainment

Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, which has more than 150 million paid members globally. (Supplied)
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Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, which has more than 150 million paid members globally. (Supplied)
Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, which has more than 150 million paid members globally. (Supplied)
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Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, which has more than 150 million paid members globally. (Supplied)
Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, which has more than 150 million paid members globally. (Supplied)
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Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, which has more than 150 million paid members globally. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 January 2021

Amazon Prime launches in Saudi Arabia, bringing the best in shopping & entertainment

Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, which has more than 150 million paid members globally. (Supplied)
  • Prime members in Saudi Arabia will enjoy a wide selection of benefits

RIYADH: Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, which has more than 150 million paid members globally. Prime is a membership program that provides a combination of shopping and entertainment benefits from Amazon.

Prime members in Saudi Arabia will enjoy a wide selection of benefits including free and fast local delivery as quickly as one-day delivery in all key metropolitan areas and as quickly as two-day delivery in other areas.

Members can also enjoy free international delivery on products delivered from Amazon US and UAE and also access popular and award-winning entertainment, with Arabic subtitles and dubbing options available on Prime Video. In addition, they can access free in-game content for popular games and a growing library of free games from Prime Gaming.

All of these benefits, and more such as exclusive access to special shopping deals and events including Prime Day, are available as part of the Prime membership program for SR16 ($4.2) per month, while customers can also save by purchasing a SR140 annual membership. Everyone can try Prime and enjoy all of the benefits by signing up for a free 30-day trial at www.amazon.sa/prime

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia, providing customers with the best of shopping and entertainment,” said Ronaldo Mouchawar, vice president of Amazon Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

“Customers in Saudi Arabia can now enjoy all the benefits included in this program, starting with free and faster delivery times. With Amazon Prime, customers in all key areas across the Kingdom can get their deliveries within one day of placing a local order. Prime members shopping on amazon.sa can also enjoy getting free deliveries on over 7 million eligible items shipped from Amazon US and UAE, within days. In addition to shopping benefits, Prime delivers even more value to Saudi customers with access to our streaming service, Prime Video, offering entertainment for everyone with popular movies and TV shows including award-winning Amazon Originals, available with subtitles and dubbing in Arabic.” 

The Amazon Prime membership programs includes all of the following benefits for customers in Saudi Arabia: 

Free and fast local delivery

Amazon Prime members across Saudi Arabia will get free and fast delivery on everything they want and need across local eligible Prime items in a wide range of categories from daily essentials to electronics, apparel, home and kitchen, and much more. Popular top brands eligible for free and fast local delivery with Prime include Philips, Microsoft, Black+Decker, Lego, Guess, Nivea, L’Oréal, Tide, Babyjoy, Dettol, Nescafe and Pampers. Free and fast local delivery options for Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia include:

• Free one-day delivery to all key metropolitan areas, which include Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Taif and Alkhobar. 

• Free two-day delivery for customers across other cities in Saudi Arabia including Jubail, Buraidah, Khamis Mushayt, Abha, Hail, Al-Ahsa, Hofuf, Jazan and Al-Kharj.

• Free delivery in 4 to 6 days to all other areas in the Kingdom.

• 50 percent discount on same-day delivery on orders made until 12 p.m. for customers in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Free international delivery on Amazon Global store products available on Amazon.sa

Prime members are also eligible for free delivery on over 7 million international items available directly on Amazon.sa, which are shipped from Amazon US and Amazon UAE, as part of the Amazon Global Store. Free international delivery options for Amazon Prime in Saudi Arabia include:

• Free delivery in 2 business days for Prime-eligible orders over SR200 shipped from Amazon UAE.

• Free delivery in 7 business days for Prime-eligible orders over SR200 shipped from Amazon US. 

Exclusive shopping deals

Prime members will have exclusive access to special shopping deals and events including Prime Day, early access to seasonal sales, and also enjoy discounts on millions of local and international brands every single day throughout the year.

Prime Video 

Amazon Prime members in Saudi Arabia will enjoy access to global entertainment featuring thousands of popular movies and TV shows, available with subtitles and dubbing in Arabic. Members can enjoy watching award-winning Amazon Originals like The Grand Tour, The Boys, The Wilds, The Expanse, and many more. Prime Video offers members the option to stream or to download selected titles, across multiple devices.

Prime Gaming

Prime members on Amazon.sa can enjoy in-game content like skins and currency for popular games, an ever-growing collection of games they can claim and keep forever, and a free Twitch.tv subscription, all included with the Prime bundle. Content for some of the world’s biggest games like League of Legends and Legends of Runeterra, are available now for Saudi gamers to enjoy.

Jamil Ghani, vice president, Amazon Prime, said: “Today, Amazon customers in Saudi Arabia can join more than 150 million paid members worldwide to enjoy the best of shopping and entertainment. With free and fast local delivery, free international delivery, exclusive deals, access to Prime Video, and more benefits all included as part of the Prime membership bundle, we know there’s something in there for everyone. We look forward to sharing the Prime experience with members in Saudi, which is designed to make their lives more convenient, easier, and a little more fun every day.”

To sign up for a free 30-day trial and learn more, customers in Saudi Arabia can visit www.amazon.sa/prime.

Prime members can shop on Amazon.sa in Arabic and English using the Amazon shopping app or by visiting the website directly. Both the app and the website offer a rich Arabic browsing experience, accurate search results, trusted product reviews, personalized recommendations and simple order management, all backed by Arabic language customer support.


MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East
Updated 01 March 2021

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor has announced details of its new strategic brand positioning for the Middle East, celebrating the company’s achievements and history, as it embarks on the next stage of its technology-focused journey. By implementing this fresh new approach, the first time MG has developed a bespoke position for the Middle East, the brand is demonstrating its commitment to the region as it sets itself on a sustainable and technologically innovative course toward the future.

Through this new campaign, the brand aims to connect with, empower and inspire its young and millennial customers by reflecting their active mindset. Developed following extensive research, MG’s new positioning is encapsulated by the “Do More” tagline, which highlights how the British-born brand has been continuously pushing boundaries since its founding in 1924. 

The announcement comes just five years after MG made its return to the region, during which time the brand has made a significant impact on the car market. Last year it recorded a 72 percent increase in sales, breaking into the GCC’s top 10 car makers for the first time.

Tom Lee, managing director at MG Motor Middle East, said: “MG possesses an extremely rich history, and we are very proud of what this brand has offered and has yet to offer. The pride we take in the MG heritage will allow us to further cement its place among the elite group of automakers in the world.”

Lee continued: “We are confident that, through this exciting new positioning, our brand will become even more recognizable among our customers. MG has remarkable stories to tell, and we are determined to bring these rich stories to life through our models. We have many exciting plans, and are set on bringing back the vintage MG 2-door sports sedan as an all-electric model. We are looking forward to telling the MG story in the most unique way, allowing our customers to join us on this journey we are undertaking.”

With its regional head office in Dubai, MG has recently expanded into additional markets, such as Jordan and Iraq. MG is now active in nine countries across the GCC and Middle East: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 

The brand’s new positioning highlights how high-tech connectivity and mobility are key to providing a holistic experience, as it blazes its way into a cutting-edge, highly advanced future. This will be reflected through authentic, adventurous and bold digital content produced by MG and its current and future customers.

The “Do More” campaign will reflect MG’s product lineup, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The brand’s new visual identity will adopt brighter color schemes and bold, sleek lines, with mood boards that will exude dynamism, energy and fun. MG is looking to inspire millennials to bring their own unique elegance to the MG community.


Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children
Updated 01 March 2021

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Saudi-based nonprofit Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association has partnered with La Vache qui rit or The Laughing Cow, a brand of processed cheese, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, to bring laughter to those who need it the most.

The nonprofit association provides services to children with tumors across the Kingdom, supports children’s centers with the medical equipment they need, and provides social, residential, educational and recreational services for patients and their families — citizens and residents — in need. In addition, the center also focuses on funding research and studies in the field of childhood cancer.

Running for one month starting Feb. 15, La Vache qui rit has introduced a dedicated web-application where consumers can register and “laugh to donate.” Showcasing the uniqueness and power of each person’s laughter, the initiative will turn every laugh recorded into a monetary donation toward the Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association.

A simple click on www.100ytlc.com is all that is required to record the laughter through the device’s microphone; each laugh recorded will boost contributions toward children in need. Donations generated through the online platform will be utilized toward the association’s “Make a Wish” program. This program focuses on making children’s wishes come true — ranging from toys such as blocks and puzzles, to gadgets such as gaming consoles and smartphones, to large-scale activities such as a curated personalized art gallery.

“We believe that our partnership with La Vache qui rit for the Golden February campaign and supporting children with cancer is a noble cause, and we proudly celebrate it this year with International Childhood Cancer Day,” said Reem Alhegelan, general manager at Sanad.

“The monetary contribution will be toward the ‘Make a Wish’ program that fulfills children’s wishes. We believe that making their wishes come true during the difficult times they are going through, will help improve their lives and maintain their psychological balance during intensive treatments. This year’s slogan “Gold at heart,” is for all the pure hearts who are willing to contribute to our fruitful journey.”

Garo Matossian, general manager, Bel Group Middle East, manufacturer of La Vache qui rit, said: “We are joining forces with Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association on our 100-year anniversary to make a difference in the lives of young children diagnosed with cancer. At La Vache qui rit, we believe that laughter is our most precious gift and our core mission is to inspire people to choose to laugh at life and garner the strength to face life’s difficulties every day. We want to give the Saudi community an opportunity to transform their laughter, or the laughter of their loved ones, into a good deed that can help those in need of optimism. La Vache qui rit has been in the homes of Saudi families for a very long time, and it is of utmost importance to us to ensure a healthier, happier society for generations to come.”


Oppo unveils rollable phone, wireless air charging at MWCS

Oppo unveils rollable phone, wireless air charging at MWCS
Updated 28 February 2021

Oppo unveils rollable phone, wireless air charging at MWCS

Oppo unveils rollable phone, wireless air charging at MWCS

Global smart device company Oppo recently showcased its state-of-the art 5G technological advancements and a host of innovations in device charging, 5G connectivity and smart technology at the Mobile World Congress, Shanghai (MWCS) 2021. The event ran from Feb. 23-25.

Since its launch in Saudi Arabia in 2019, Oppo has demonstrated incredible growth to become the fifth most popular smartphone brand in the Kingdom driven by the launch of two generations of the Reno handset in 2020, the Reno3 and Reno4 series, as well as the Find X2 Pro. 

Guests at the MWCS were introduced to the Oppo X 2021 concept phone, which features a screen that unrolls from 6.7 to 7.4 inches, showcasing the latest screen form advancements in the mobile industry. The company also demonstrated its wireless air charging innovation, which uses magnetic resonance technology to begin charging as soon as the phone is within 10 cm of its charging mat, with up to 7.5W of charging power.

Also launched was the Flash Initiative, a new era in mobile charging technology based around Oppo’s VOOC flash charging, which the company has developed alongside FAW-Volkswagen, Anker and NXP Semiconductors, leaders in their respective fields of automobiles, portable charging and chip manufacture. As part of the initiative, Oppo has applied for more than 2,950 flash charging patents worldwide, with more than 1,400 already granted. 

Adler Feng, senior director of intellectual property at Oppo, said: “The Flash Initiative reflects Oppo’s belief in human-centric technologies that make a difference in people’s everyday lives. And thanks to our new partners, our proprietary technologies can reach more people than ever before. This is a vital step in freeing consumers to use their devices however they want, no matter what they need to do or where in the world they are.”

Oppo also used the opportunity of the MWCS to demonstrate how it is expanding its portfolio beyond mobile phones to embrace wider smart technology. It has invested heavily in R&D to develop frontier technologies and create products including its 5G CPE Omni, a futuristic technology that converts the 5G mobile signal into a stable Wi-Fi connection, which in turn can support the Internet of Things in the smart home of the future.


SABB reports resilient Q4 results, net income up by 7%

SABB reports resilient Q4 results, net income up by 7%
Updated 28 February 2021

SABB reports resilient Q4 results, net income up by 7%

SABB reports resilient Q4 results, net income up by 7%

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) reported a net income of SR680 million ($181.3 million) for the three months ending Dec. 31, 2020. The net income before Zakat and income tax for Q4 of 2020 was SR801 million, SR55 million or 7 percent higher than the corresponding quarter ending Dec. 31, 2019. This was mainly from lower expected credit losses partly offset by reduced revenue.

SABB reported a resilient end to the year but disappointing bottom line financial performance, with a full year net loss before Zakat and income tax of SR4,302 million, which included the impairment of goodwill in the second quarter of SR7,418 million.

The underlying full year net income before Zakat and income tax was SR3,835 million, 13 percent lower than 2019 (on a pro forma basis), from lower revenue reflecting the cuts to benchmark interest rates partly offset by lower expected credit losses and reduced costs.

The fourth quarter of 2020 saw an acceleration in the integration of SABB and Alawwal Bank, with full integration expected by the end of the first quarter of 2021. 

The gross loans and advances increased 1 percent during 2020 and the fourth quarter.

SABB closed the reporting period with robust levels of capital, liquidity and a strong funding base.

According to a statement, the integration of the merged bank and realization of synergies is on track. 

Lubna Suliman Olayan, board chair of SABB, said: “2020 has been an eventful year with the COVID-19 global pandemic creating challenges and uncertainty, but despite this, we remained open for business, ensuring the safety of our customers and staff, and continued with our 2020 priorities. 

“In 2020, we completed the integration of our corporate and institutional banking and treasury businesses, which enter 2021 operating as a single bank. Our retail and wealth management business will complete its customer integration, referred to as ‘Customer Day 1’ in the first quarter of 2021, following which we will be one bank, with one branch network, one IT system, one website and a shared culture. As we transition into life as truly one bank, our Strategy 2025 provides a roadmap to deliver on our vision of ‘bringing a world of financial opportunities to an ambitious Kingdom,’ and supporting the ambitious growth plans of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 transformation plan.” 

Despite the environment, the bank has developed its leadership position in the capital markets. This has been demonstrated through SABB’s Tier II sukuk issuance of SR5 billion, a range of industry awards recognizing the bank’s digital and mobile banking capabilities, and trade, treasury and cash management.

“Although there is uncertainty ahead, we look forward to approaching 2021 with the same commitment and perseverance that we have shown during 2020 and we are optimistic that global recovery will take place during the year ahead,” Olayan added.


GFH acquires mission-critical Chicago distribution center

GFH acquires mission-critical Chicago distribution center
Updated 28 February 2021

GFH acquires mission-critical Chicago distribution center

GFH acquires mission-critical Chicago distribution center

GFH Financial Group has announced the acquisition of a mission-critical distribution facility in Chicago, Illinois, which has been leased since November 2015 to blue-chip tenant, Michelin North America, a global tire brand. 

The transaction, valued at approximately $135 million, marks the continued expansion of GFH’s global portfolio of income-generating real estate assets including prime distribution centers, well-positioned logistics assets and last-mile delivery facilities in the US and Europe. The transaction was undertaken in partnership with Silver Creek Commercial Development LLC, a US-based asset manager with a track record of more than $2 billion in logistics transactions. 

The facility is distinguished by its strategic location in the geographic center of the US. It is situated at the intersection of I-55 (Chicago to Louisiana) and I-80 (New York to Northern California), offering seamless access to major interstate highways. The facility is one of only two bulk logistics centers used by Michelin in the US, handling 35 percent of the company’s imported inventory.

Razi Al-Merbati, CEO of GFH Capital S.A., said: “With this transaction, we continue to further our efforts to diversify and expand our portfolio of international, blue-chip real estate assets. This includes new acquisitions of prime properties in strategic geographies for us including the US. This is especially true in the distribution and logistics segment today, where demand is strong for well-located facilities close to major urban centers and populations that require faster and more seamless access to goods. With this deal, we move further toward solidifying our position as a leading real estate investor in the US and look to transact on the strong pipeline of other unique opportunities we have in place.”

Salem Patel, head of asset management, at GFH, added: “We’re extremely pleased to announce another strategic global acquisition in the logistics sector. The Chicago-based facility is uniquely positioned in the center of the country and boasts seamless access to a variety of transport links giving tenants easy access to their customers located across major US states and commercial centers. This investment is supported by its long-term lease to Michelin N.A, a highly reputable tenant and global tire industry giant, who has helped establish and maintain the facility as a state-of-the-art distribution center. We are continuing to look at further investments in the sector globally and to maximize the value of this and our growing portfolio of logistics centers for the benefit of the group, our shareholders, investors and partners.”