Amazon launched a new website in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, replacing Souq.com — the popular regional e-commerce platform it bought for $580 million in 2017 — with Amazon.ae.
Souq users in the UAE are now automatically redirected to Amazon.ae, and will have access to products sold by Amazon in the United States, as well as more payment options, according to a statement from Souq founder Ronaldo Mouchawar.
Mouchawar, who is now vice president for Amazon in the Middle East and North Africa, touted the site as a milestone, noting that customers can shop in Arabic on both the Amazon app and the website, a first for the Seattle-based company.
Amazon.ae also features regional specific deals, such as sales pegged to Ramadan, the Islamic holy month set to begin next week.
Souq will still be available in other countries where it operates, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The online shopping industry in the Middle East and North Africa is poised for explosive growth.
E-commerce in the region was worth $8.3 billion in 2017, and is expected to more than triple to $28.5 billion by 2022, according to consulting firm Bain & Company.
Amazon is fighting off other global e-commerce companies making a play for the growing market.
The push into the Middle East comes as Amazon pulls back from the world’s second-largest economy. Earlier this month, Amazon said it will close its marketplace in China, meaning Amazon customers in the country will no longer be able to buy goods from Chinese merchants.
Zahraa Alkhalisi contributed to this report.