Tejari’s expansion plans

Tejari is looking to emulate the success of US business marketplaces, its newly-appointed CEO said last week.

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By  Caroline Denslow Published  September 3, 2005

Tejari is looking to emulate the success of US business marketplaces, its newly-appointed CEO said last week. In an exclusive interview with IT Weekly, Omar Hijazi said the company wants to transform itself from an online trading hub to something that can deliver more value when it comes to supplier and procurement management. While it has already launched a consultancy group earlier this year (see IT Weekly 25 June-1 July 2005), the company plans to introduce additional services in the fourth quarter of this year that will encourage businesses in the region to adopt online trading activities extensively. Some of these new services are influenced by business models that the likes of Yahoo! and eBay have applied in their own organisations, Hijazi said. “If you look at how things are done in the US, [online marketplaces there] have done a very good job introducing consumers to online auction and online procurement. "There are a lot of marketplaces in the US because customers know you can do business online that is secure and helps your business. [We are looking] to bring those things to the Middle East, work with the companies here and introduce them to the new concepts,” Hijazi explained. These new concepts will come in the form of three new products that Tejari will be releasing late this year. One of which is what Hijazi dubbed as market-making capabilities — a set of online tools to be featured in Tejari’s business-to-business (B2B) portal — that will help its member companies build their profiles online and fortify business relations between the companies. “Our market-making capabilities currently involves the companies profiling who they are and posting their contact information online. We will be adding electronic product show- rooms so suppliers can do e-exhibitions of their merchandise on Tejari to stimulate demand. We will also have a trade lead mechanism so buyers can alert others of what they are looking for and suppliers can alert other traders of what they have to offer,” Hijazi noted. Tejari is also set to launch its e-Tendering service, an electronic tender management service that will allow the company’s trading partners to manage large, complex, and mostly governmental tenders centrally through the online marketplace. The new e-Tender solution is part of Tejari’s sourcing process in which procurement professionals utilise web-based collaborative tools to conduct the various stages of the procurement lifecycle online. An online payment gateway is also being developed, along with electro-nic billing services. With the enhancements, Tejari hopes to entice more companies to join, particularly in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) sector. “All these will bring best practices from the US and Europe here into Tejari and roll out more customers to interact in a much higher level,” he said. “And I think this will also attract many small and medium-sized businesses on to Tejari. It is going to be so easy for them to register. It is going to be easy for them to see the activity they can engage in on the marketplace,” Hijazi added. Ultimately, Tejari aims to be known as the Middle East’s online marketplace. Aside from the UAE, it is already present in Jordan, Kuwait and Lebanon. Now, the company is looking at expanding in the GCC and in North Africa. “Our mission is to be the Middle East’s online marketplace. We want to establish ourselves completely in the Gulf and North Africa,” Hijazi said.

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