This week, Amazon completed its acquisition of e-commerce firm Souq.com, which was first announced at the end of March. Frequently described as the Amazon of the Middle East, Souq is the largest e-commerce site operating in the Arab world. This deal marks a significant move for the U.S. retail giant into the Middle Eastern market. Offering more than 8.4 million products, the site is visited by 45 million customers per month from across the Middle East and North Africa.
International trade development has propelled the UAE to the forefront of Washington’s exporting customers. Within the last three years, the UAE has increased exports from Washington state by 27 percent, making it Washington’s fourth largest export market. With Amazon’s purchase of Souq, Greater Seattle and Washington state companies could gain more access to the Middle Eastern e-commerce market.
This November, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle will lead an International Business Development Mission to the UAE. The trip includes visits to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, along with meeting top level executives and government representatives. Previously in 2009, the Trade Development Alliance and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce organized an International Leadership Mission to the UAE to promote Greater Seattle’s business, ports, tourism and educational opportunities – while fostering a local and lasting relationship.
Our region has a rich history of engagement with the Middle East. For several years, Seattle University has strategically built a network with its international alumni, many of whom make valuable contributions to Greater Seattle. One notable alumni, Mohamed Alabbar, is the founder and chairman of Emaar Properties in the UAE. Emaar is the developer of the world’s largest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Read the full update on TechCrunch.