To grow an online marketplace from the grass roots into one of the region’s largest e-commerce destinations in a matter of a decade and then get Amazon to buy it off is no mean feat. But more than the value of the deal itself, the acquisition of souq.com by Amazon is yet another recognition of the success of Dubai and the UAE in nurturing homegrown companies that are fierce competitors in the global arena and offer incredible value to their shareholders.
Amazon has not disclosed the price of the deal, though officials have placed it around $650 million (Dh2.39 billion) — yet another instance of the confidence reposed on UAE brands by global companies. While the sum itself would make it one of the biggest acquisitions in recent times, the deal joins an illustrious list of predecessors in the UAE — such as Maktoob, Zawya and Talabat — that have successfully forged takeover deals with global companies.
The deal also represents another milestone in Dubai and the UAE’s constant quest to consolidate the foundations of a knowledge economy and diversify its economy away from its dependence on oil. As expressed by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the acquisition reflects the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in setting up a dedicated zone in 1999 for internet-based companies to grow and flourish, as well as the enactment of e-commerce laws to effectively govern the sector. Those pioneering efforts have come to fruition today — and the souq deal is its latest offering, confirming Dubai’s position as a destination of choice for the world’s top corporations. With its quality of infrastructure, ease of doing business, a strategic location for a captive marketplace and the tireless support of the leadership, it’s only a matter of time before many more global success stories are born of out of Dubai.