Amazon’s US $580-million acquisition of Souq.com provided the world’s largest e-commerce company with a major foothold in the Middle East market, now its SOUQ subsidiary is making plans to match its last mile fulfilment with that of Amazon in the US.
SOUQ.com has acquired Wing.ae, a startup that is building out a network for Prime-style same-day and next-day deliveries for various e-commerce marketplaces (including Souq.com).
The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but this full-scale investment comes after SOUQ previously made an undisclosed, strategic investment in Wing.ae to help it scale-up its operations.
Wing.ae had been working with a number of other marketplaces in the region, and the company said that it will continue to support these if they meet a minimum size. “Wing will continue to support delivery service providers who conduct deliveries for more than 150 businesses throughout the region,” a spokesperson said.
Souq today is the biggest e-commerce marketplace in the region — with 45 million online visitors per month; 8.4 million products in 31 categories like consumer electronics, fashion, health and beauty, household goods, and baby; and local operations in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt — giving Amazon instant market share from day one of its operations there.
“At SOUQ.com, our customers will remain our key focus and we will continue to deliver an exceptional online shopping experience,” said Ronaldo Mouchawar, SOUQ.com CEO & Co-Founder, in a statement.
“Fast, dependable delivery is key to this, and Wing.ae provides SOUQ.com customers with more convenience for their same and next day delivery. With Amazon’s support, we are putting all our efforts in providing an ever-improving shopping experience for customers in the Middle East.”
In that context, Souq and Amazon are buying into a startup that will help them stay ahead in an area that has been one of Amazon’s traditional strengths, logistics.
The acquisition is another step in the growing rivalry between Amazon-SOUQ and Noon.com, a soon to be launched e-com platform for the region. While SOUQ is tying its horse to Wing.ae for last mile, Mohammad Alabbar, the tycoon and retail enterpreneur behind Noon.com, has backed logistics company Aramex.
Wing.ae’s fast-delivery network also potentially can help Amazon build out its Prime business into the region. Prime is Amazon’s the subscription-based service that provides free and fast shipping to members on many different items, along with a bunch of other perks like music and video services.
“The UAE is a leading e-commerce and smart hub in the region, and in this demanding business we work to fill the logistics supply gaps to offer customers the excellent service they want as fast as possible,” says Muzaffar Karabev, CEO and founder of Wing.ae, in a statement.
“With the support of SOUQ.com, Wing will accelerate investments into our technology, infrastructure and regional coverage to provide innovative delivery solutions and to make online shopping for SOUQ.com customers and merchants even more convenient.”