2014-03-28 10:42:07 - Atlas Asia Investment Partners reports Souq.com, a Dubai-based ecommerce site has raised $75 million from South Africa’s Naspers.
According to Atlas Asia Investment Partners, It may be some way off from being spoken about in the same hushed tones reserved for the likes of Amazon or even eBay, but plucky Dubai-based ecommerce site, Souq.com says it remains determined to fill a niche in the Arab world that its far larger counterparts have as yet seen fit not to focus upon.
Souq – which means “market” in Arabic – raised $75 million from South African media colossus Naspers in return for an undisclosed stake in the company. Souq.com’s chief executive, Ronaldo Mouchawar declined to say how much of a stake has been sold to Naspers but he insisted the stake represented a minority interest.
“Raising this money is a great
achievement that’s made all the more remarkable when one remembers that the Arab world has not been as welcoming of online retail as we have in the West and Asia,” said an Atlas Asia Investment Partners analyst.
The company says it intends to reach $1 billion in sales within the next two years despite facing headwinds as in the form of an absence of the infrastructure that facilitates ecommerce elsewhere in the world. There are complex customs processes, payment systems that can only be described as “fledgling” at best and there is the simple fact that many in the Arab world simply have an aversion to paying online.
“Despite those seemingly insurmountable obstacles, we think there is enormous potential in this region of the world,” said the Atlas Asia Investment Partners analyst.
“Social media websites and services like Facebook and Twitter are extremely popular with the younger generations there and the reticence over online payment is likely to fade in the years ahead. When one considers that Amazon and other e-tailers have chosen not to push their brands here, we thing souq.com will one day turn out to be a fantastic holding,” concluded the Atlas Asia Investment Partners analyst.
About Atlas Asia Investment Partners
Atlas Asia Investment Partners is a wealth management firm specialising in asset management services for small- to mid-capitalised companies and high net worth individuals. Our philosophy is to grow and protect our clients' wealth by investing in profitable investment opportunities and by employing long-term growth strategies, including investment management, financial planning, quantitative research and due diligence to deliver the highest level of customer service.
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