Much like the Industrial Revolution 200 years before it, there are few regions of the world that the new age of eCommerce has not touched. Now that high-speed Internet access is becoming more common, even in undeveloped areas, previously inaccessible markets are becoming just the opposite.
That’s the lesson from Souq.com’s latest round of funding — a $275 million windfall in what the Middle Eastern eCommerce retailer is calling the region’s largest single round of funding ever. Cofounder and CEO Ronaldo Mouchawar explained that the finances will accelerate the site’s growth, which has already been running at a torrid pace, thanks to technological infrastructure improvements across the Middle East.
“Further growth is inherent from being in a market with the highest mobile penetration in the world and continued adoption of mobile commerce by our customers,” Mouchawar said in a statement. “Souq.com is constantly enhancing its customer experience, for both buyers and sellers. SMEs in particular are true growth drivers in our economy, and our aim is to empower merchants to reap the benefits of eCommerce and further drive growth via mobile. Capitalizing on the step-change in consumer behavior and business benefit towards mobile commerce, Souq.com will continue to lead the eCommerce industry in the region.”
Reuters noted that Mouchawar and Souq were on the expansion warpath long before the funding announcement was made. The site has been operating in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, but 2015 marked the extension of service to Oman, Qatar and Bahrain as well. With an extra $275 million in its pockets, the company is also reportedly interested in entering the Kuwaiti market within the next few years.
“The region has many countries, one language, one culture, but you need to get your logistics in order to make sure you serve the whole region and not just one area,” Mouchawar told Reuters.