Back in April 2019 Amazon announced the launch of a new marketplace targeting the Middle Eastern market.
With the launch, Amazon has since rebranded Souq, the e-commerce company it bought for $580 million in 2017, to Amazon.ae. The Souq.com URL takes you to Amazon.ae, but Souq is still available in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. “We are proud to announce that we are now Amazon.ae,” Amazon wrote in a letter posted on the new Middle East marketplace.
The launch of the new Middle East marketplace, which was first reported by CNBC in January, comes at a time of slowing international sales for Amazon. In its most recent quarter, Amazon’s international sales only grew 9% from a year ago to $16.2 billion.
The change gives Amazon’s Middle East service a more unified look and brand in the region. Until now, Amazon’s only presence in the region was through Souq, which it acquired in 2017. It also comes with the same seller back-end system used in the U.S., and access to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), the company’s storage and shipping service, according to multiple sellers.
Amazon Advertising beta testing has since been launched allowing global brands to both access the growing Middle East market and amplify sales on the ground.
In the letter announcing the launch, Souq’s cofounder Ronaldo Mouchawar wrote that Amazon’s new Middle East service will sell over 30 million products, “including those available on Souq and five million products from Amazon US.” It will also offer the option of shopping in Arabic for the first time, he said.