Amazon closes Souq, acquired for $580m, opens Middle East marketplace
Amazon launched a new Middle East marketplace on Tuesday, two years after buying the Dubai-based e-commerce company Souq.com for $580 million.
With the launch, Amazon said Souq.com will effectively shut down. The Souq.com URL now automatically takes you to Amazon.ae.
“We are proud to announce that we are now Amazon.ae,” Amazon wrote in a letter posted on the new Middle East marketplace.
The launch of the new Middle East marketplace, which was first reported by CNBC in January, comes at a time of slowing international sales for Amazon. In its most recent quarter, Amazon’s international sales only grew 9% from a year ago to $16.2 billion.
Amazon’s representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The change gives Amazon’s Middle East service a more unified look and brand in the region. Until now, Amazon’s only presence in the region was through Souq, which it acquired in 2017. It also comes with the same seller back-end system used in the U.S., and access to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), the company’s storage and shipping service, according to multiple sellers.
In the letter announcing the launch, Souq’s cofounder Ronaldo Mouchawar wrote Amazon’s new Middle East service will sell over 30 million products, “including those available on Souq and five million products from Amazon US.” It will also offer the option of shopping in Arabic for the first time, he said.
This isn’t the first time for Amazon to shut down a company it acquired. In 2017, it closed Quidsi, the parent company of diapers.com and soap.com, which it acquired for $545 million seven years earlier. Though it cited profitability challenges for the closure, Amazon had little need for Quidsi because it was selling the same products on Amazon.com.
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