Amazon is understood to have started a search for its first office in Dubai, following its recent acquisition of Souq.com.
The retail giant, which acquired the UAE-based e-commerce website for an undisclosed sum in March, does not currently have a permanent base in the country.
Its Middle East e-commerce operations are limited to Saudi Arabia – although its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, has offices in both Dubai and Bahrain.
Amazon is understood to have met with the relevant authorities and advisors to ramp up its search for office and logistics space since the Souq.com acquisition. The company is also said to have begun recruitment activity outside the UAE, to bring new staff to the country.
It is not known how big the office and the logistics warehouse will be, nor where either building will be located.
However, sources said the company is unlikely to be restricted to free zone areas as the government would consider granting it special onshore privileges like it did for technology giant Apple, with its standalone stores in Mall of Emirates and other prime locations.
It is understood that Amazon could deploy a ‘build-to-suit’ model and create its own building from scratch if it fails to find available space to suit its requirements.
If Amazon seeks a retail presence like Apple in future, sources said this is likely to take the form of ‘shopfront’ stores like those of UK retailer Argos, which has a relatively small front-of-house space where customers choose what they want to buy from Argos catalogues, and the stock is kept in a warehouse at the back.