The website is a re-branding of Middle Eastern eCommerce site Souq.com, which was acquired by Amazon in 2017, PYMNTS reported. Last year, the company converted Souq’s website in the United Arab Emirates to an Amazon-branded one, amazon.ae. At the time, PYMNTS reported that Souq.com would remain available in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but a visit to the domain in any other location would be automatically rerouted to the new site.
According to Reuters, Saudi customers’ data with Souq will now be transferred over to a new site, amazaon.sa.
The feud between Bezos and the Saudi leadership had some analysts speculating that Amazon would curb its business in Saudi Arabia, although this does not seem to be the case.
Bezos said leaked texts between him and a girlfriend, done by a U.S. tabloid, were being investigated for reported meddling from a Saudi-backed entity. The United Nations said in January that it had evidence of bin Salman’s involvement in that plot, which Saudi Arabia called “absurd,” according to Reuters.
Bezos owns The Washington Post, whose journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia’s government, was murdered in October 2018. The CIA said the Crown Prince ordered the killing, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. Bin Salman denied the claim, saying it was rogue operators who committed the crime.
Amazon’s moves in the Middle East have been said to solidify the company’s presence in the region and bolster its worldwide sales after a slump in the beginning of 2019. Ronaldo Mouchawar, a co-founder of Souq, said the move will allow more than 30 million items combined from his company and Amazon, PYMNTS reported.
Among Amazon’s other work in the Middle East is Payfort, which it owns and which will work on boosting revenues and online traffic for small businesses. The company said it would be funneling 1 million dirhams ($272,260) into a three-month marketing campaign, including influencer input, videos and email and internal marketing campaigns to help businesses become more viable and boost finances amid the pandemic.