By Muneerah Bee
Singapore-based e-commerce company Shopmatic has announced its expansion into the Middle East, its third regional market.
Currently with operations in Singapore, India and Hong Kong, the firm intends to tap into the region’s latent potential as a burgeoning e-commerce industry by starting from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – by partnering with Network International, an e-payments solutions provider in the Middle East and Africa. The first initiative coming out of this collaboration sees the launch of Go-online, an e-commerce solution targeting small, medium start-ups and businesses in the UAE; allowing users to create web stores and start retailing their products to customers across the country and beyond – the platform will be powered by Shopmatic and operated by Network International.
Anurag Avula, CEO and co-founder of Shopmatic, said: “This marks our entry into one of the most exciting emerging e-commerce markets and continues to cement our commitment to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs on their online commerce journey, across the globe. With the spectacular progress we’ve made in India and Singapore, we saw the potential the Middle Eastern market held for the e-commerce sector where solutions providers like us can tap on as we continue to grow. Our platform allows anyone to sell online, be it a small business or an individual entrepreneur and we strive to democratise the process, making it easy, simple and cost-effective.”
“The partnership with Network International marks a significant step in enabling digital commerce for the budding e-commerce markets such as the Middle East and Africa. They are the UAE’s largest merchant acquirer and with this, will give Shopmatic a strategic advantage in developing our stake in the e-commerce space here,” he added.
According to findings in a study by Hootsuite, Internet World Stats and We Are Social, the Middle East’s current internet penetration rate of 60% t is well above the global average of 51.7% – this portrays a huge potential for e-commerce players looking to enter the region.
Samer Soliman, managing director – Middle East, Network International, commented: “As part of our commitment to enable commerce in the region, our aim is to enhance the e-commerce ecosystem by offering potential entrepreneurs a ready world-class platform with an integrated payment gateway. Go-Online will hasten go-to-market for smaller e-commerce entrants, enhance customer acquisition and instil confidence in shoppers looking to purchase online.”
Shopmatic is poised to enter 20 markets by 2020. This year, the company intends to expand into other South-east Asian markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia and The Philippines.