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Noon goes shopping at Gitex, signs two key deals

Inked agreements with Etisalat and Dubai Economy are intended to strengthen Noon against powerful competitors

Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Visitors on the first day of 37th Gitex Technology Week at Dubai World Trade Centre.
Gulf News

DUBAI

Recently launched Noon went shopping at Gitex on Sunday.

Noon, online retailer that opened shop on Sept. 30, inked a number of deals on the first day of GITEX as it vies with Souq and Amazon for a share of the UAE’s growing eCommerce market.

Mohammad Alabbar, the founder of both Noon and property giant Emaar, first stopped at Etisalat’s stand, talking with the company’s representatives before signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), after which he moved on to Smart Dubai’s area to sign another agreement with Dubai Economy. He was accompanied by Faraz Khalid, Chief Executive Officer of Noon.

The deal with Etisalat, one of two state-owned telecommunications providers in the UAE, will offer consumers the ability to purchase Etisalat products and services directly from Noon.

These include devices, both prepaid and postpaid SIM cards, eLife, and recharge cards.

Etisalat has been developing a base of key online partners, including Noon, in line with the company’s overall strategy to move towards a more digital business.

The provider announced on Sunday that it had completed its fastest 5G live trial to date, reaching 71Gbps, setting a global record in the industry.

On the sidelines of the signing, Chief Executive of Noon Faraz Khalid told Gulf News that the main priority of the MoU would be customer protection, enabled by significant cooperation between Noon and the Government of Dubai.

“We’ll cooperate very deeply with Dubai Government to enable sellers to sell efficiently online, and to enable customers to be better protected,” Khalid said.

“[This is a first for the region] at the scale at which it is being done,” he added.

Following a number of delayed launches, Noon finally went live on September 30. It is now taking orders for delivery in the UAE, with Saudi Arabia expected to follow in the coming weeks, according to the company.

Khalid said: “We very much want to enable customers to buy with trust in the region. I think that’s the number one thing.”

Dubai Economy, an arm of the Department for Economic Development (DED), oversees much of the customer protection activities of the government.

According to its website, the ministry facilitates a consumer protection hotline for any complaint related to infringements of consumer rights.

In 2013, the ministry launched a recall website for damaged products, in order to protect consumers, retailers and manufacturers, while maintaining stability in the market, it said at the time.

The DED in each emirate deals with consumer rights issues and implement plans and procedures related to consumer protection laws. It receives consumers’ complaints and raises consumers’ awareness about their rights and duties, its website says.

Responding to a question from Gulf News about how he has found his time at Noon so far, Khalid simply said: “It’s fun, it’s good! We’re live now.”

Khalid, co-founder and former Managing Director of luxury online retailer Namshi, was appointed as CEO of Noon in July 2017, following the departure of his predecessor Fodhil Benturquia, and a number of other senior staff.

Representatives from Noon said a full announcement and official statement was planned for Monday, and therefore neither Khalid nor Alabbar would be able to answer any further questions.

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