Report: Amazon to Launch Middle East Marketplace – What About Souq?

CNBC reports that Amazon plans to launch an Amazon branded marketplace targeting Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

According to those sellers who wished not to be named as the discussions with Amazon are private, the marketplace would be like other international marketplaces Amazon operates such as amazon.de or amazon.co.uk.

“Following Amazon’s acquisition of Souq, I want to offer you participation in a groundbreaking new sales project in the Mid East… Our program is simple, straightforward and allows you to expand your selection to a new base of Amazon buyers.”

Amazon wrote in an invitation to a select group of sellers (Source: CNBC)

Amazon declined to comment to the report, but apparently some sellers CNBC contacted that received the invitation provided more details.

According to those sellers who wished not to be named as the discussions with Amazon are private, the marketplace would be similar to other international marketplaces Amazon operates such as amazon.de or amazon.co.uk.

The company also plans to offer Amazon FBA services and is especially interested in beauty and electronics products.

What About Souq?

Just over a year ago, Amazon purchased the Dubai-based Souq marketplace. It was believed this would be Amazon’s foothold in the middle-east.

READ MORE: Amazon’s latest Acquisition is Souq.com

However, with the invitation it sent to sellers about this new opportunity, the company seems headed into a different direction.

It is unclear if Amazon plans to shut down Souq or if it will just de-emphasize the marketplace over time.

It would not be the first time Amazon purchased a company and then shut it down. The same happened when it acquired Quidsi, which operated diapers.com and soap.com.

Souq has a logistics network with localized operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. It is possible that Amazon’s main interest in buying Souq was the logistics network and local business knowledge.

Today, Souq.com already looks a lot like an Amazon branded digital storefront and it offers marketplace and seller fulfillment services similar to Amazon’s standard offerings in most countries.

What do you think about Amazon’s expansion plans in the middle east? Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.

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