Emaar Properties chairman and founding partner of noon.com Mohamed Alabbar has confirmed that the e-commerce platform will open for business by the end of this year, having previously claimed that it would be operational by January.
The announcement follows a frenzy of e-commerce activity in the Middle East, including the news that an Alabbar-backed technology fund was behind a deal to acquire UAE-based e-commerce platform JadoPado, whose founder and CEO Omar Kassim is set to take over as noon’s chief technology officer.
“I am pleased to confirm that noon is on track to launch this year,” Alabbar said in a statement. “Our beta programme has been very insightful, and all the feedback we received from our early customers has allowed us to test and refine our technology and fulfilment model.”
Alabbar cited the firm’s need to refine back end operations and systems as the cause of the delay. “It is vital that all our systems and processes work at the highest possible level,” he said. “The coming months will be spent to ensure this, particularly with some of the many supply chain innovations we have been developing. We are excited by what our team has been able to achieve in a short time. In the past few months, we have onboarded additional expertise to enhance our management team and help execute on our plans.”
He added that noon would be committed to hiring Saudis once noon is operational. “Following the launch of noon, our permanent operational base will be in Riyadh, and we are currently scaling up our resourcing and operations there. This allows us an excellent opportunity to bring into the organisation some of best new young Saudi talent working in this field.”
Despite its delays in reaching the market, Alabbar claimed noon was still well positioned to be the e-commerce market leader once it opens for business. “noon has the potential to disrupt the nascent e-commerce market in the region,” he said. “I would like to thank our partners, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, for their continued support and guidance through this process, and our highly dedicated team of experts from a variety of fields, now working around the clock as we translate our vision into reality.”