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Saudi digital souq to open this year

The company behind the region's first online auction site, Souq.com, will expand the portal later this year by adding a bilingual version for the Saudi Arabian market, according to its managing partner.

The company behind the region's first online auction site, Souq.com, will expand the portal later this year by adding a bilingual version for the Saudi Arabian market, according to its managing partner.

Speaking exclusively to Windows Middle East today, Ronaldo Mouchawar explained: "The UAE version of Souq.com is currently the most popular of our two auction sites, but the Jordan site has been important because it has allowed us to test our Arabic interface. Our next big move then will be to open up a version of Souq.com for the Saudi Arabian market. I expect this to launch in the Kingdom in quarter three or four of this year."

The current UAE and Jordan auction sites - at www.souq.com - launched in August last year and currently feature between 4500 and 5000 'live' auctions running at any one time, selling everything from DVDs to cars and real estate.

In the near future, Souq.com will also ramp up the e-commerce functionality of its site by adding an e-wallet feature.

"We want to encourage e-payment and we’re working on a further solution for this," Mouchawar states. "There has been some hype created against e-payments, which is partly because banks were late getting to see how valuable the internet can be for the consumer. Now though, business such as airlines for instance are pushing hard; everyone is starting to do it. We’ll be adding an on-site wallet function, that will be tied to credit card payments (which we already accept to pay our fees), and pre-paid Cash U cards."

Auction buyers and sellers will be able to use this wallet to ‘cash out’ funds directly to their bank accounts or use the funds within the wallet to pay for goods bought on Souq.com.

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