June 12, 2018 / 5:19 PM / a year ago

eBay partners with Dubai billionaire for Middle East sales

DUBAI (Reuters) - ebay Inc will sell products on a relatively new Middle Eastern e-commerce venture, founded by a Dubai billionaire, from the second half of this year, the venture said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: The eBay app is seen on a mobile phone in this illustration photo October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

eBay has agreed to list popular products from the United States and elsewhere on noon.com and its mobile app for online shoppers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), noon said in a statement.

“Our partnership with eBay opens a whole new world of shopping experience,” said noon founder Mohammed Alabbar.

The two companies will also explore joint marketing opportunities and consider sharing their know-how and best practices with each other, the statement said.

Other details of the partnership were not disclosed and a noon spokeswoman declined to comment when asked about possible financial terms. The spokeswoman said that eBay was not acquiring a stake in noon under the agreement.

Noon, which started operations in 2017, was launched by Alabbar with the financial backing of the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and other Gulf investors.

Alabbar, a prominent Emirati businessman, is the chairman of Emaar Properties, the Dubai builder of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa.

E-commerce in the Middle East is potentially highly lucrative, in part because of the region’s young and tech-savvy population. However, inadequate logistics and electronic payment methods have hampered it from gaining a significant foothold.

Amazon.com bought Middle Eastern online retailer Souq.com in March 2017, beating a bid by the retail unit of Alabbar’s Emaar.

In May that year, the retail business Emaar Malls Group agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in Middle Eastern online fashion retailer Namshi for $151 million from Global Fashion Group.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Mark Potter

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