Saudi souq to open soon

The Saudi version of online auction site Souq.com will be up and running in the next three months, the firm’s CEO confirmed this week.

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  January 14, 2007

The Saudi version of online auction site Souq.com will be up and running in the next three months, the firm’s CEO confirmed this week. In an ITP.net interview in March of last year, Ronaldo Mouchawar said he expected to launch the Saudi version in quarter three or four of 2006. Today, however Mouchawar explained the reason for its delay in an exclusive interview with Windows Middle East. “We have now started the execution of the expansion plans to Saudi, and we plan to be up and running in the next three months, stated Mouchawar. “We felt that we needed to role out key features in the UAE such as (credit card payment tool) and our fixed price selling service called ‘Buy Now’ first, before we go ahead with the expansion.” The company is in the process of setting-up the business as a legal entity in the Kingdom. He also revealed that the firm has already started adding Saudi nationals as support staff in its call centre. Mouchawar revealed that 2006 was a big year for the firm in terms of sales for both the UAE and Jordan version of the site. “ In November alone, Souq.com listed over 18,000 new auctions, recorded over five million page views, and traded nearly six million dirhams in gross merchandise volume,” stated Mouchawar. He went on to say, “We want to maintain this growth, by enhancing our service and supporting our local customers better; for that we have invested in CRM systems, and are continuously adding categories, features and services. We are hoping 2007 will be a strong year for us, both locally and in Saudi Arabia as we expand to that market.” Asked which country the firm was targeting next, Mouchawar commented, “At the moment we are focusing on the Saudi expansion, as well as maintaining our high growth here in the UAE. We will continue to evaluate and expand as we go.” In December of last year, Souq.com won the Gold prize at the UAE Web Awards for ‘Best e-commerce website’. At present, the site boasts 45,000 registered UAE users and 7700 Jordian users.

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