Following a number of delayed launches, Noon, a Riyadh-based eCommerce website, finally went live late on Saturday night, according to a statement from the company.
It is now taking orders for delivery in the UAE, with Saudi Arabia expected to follow “in the coming weeks,” according to Noon.
Created by Emaar-founder Mohammad Alabbar and backed by top tier investors including Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Kuwait’s M.H. Alshaya & Co., Noon is currently available via Google Play, although it is not currently on Apple’s App Store.
Noon says that it will be available for iOS users in the next few days.
Product categories currently available include electronics, fashion and beauty, goods for children, home and kitchen items, and groceries.
There are no fresh foods available on Noon, just ambient groceries, such as canned goods, cereals and bottled soft drinks.
In a statement, Alabbar said: “Today, we are excited to deliver orders to our first customers. We are proud to take this important first step in our journey, and we are committed to making Noon the region’s Arabic-first eCommerce platform.”
He added: “As digital technologies cause disruptions across industries and geographies, it is important for us to shape a digital marketplace that is relevant to our local markets and serves as a growth platform for brick-and-mortar retailers.”
In September, retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co. acquired a strategic stake in Noon, and according to the company’s statement, will list its portfolio of brands covering fashion, health and beauty, and home and lifestyle categories on Noon’s platform.
The technology company, announced in November 2016, was billed as a $1 billion eCommerce platform destined to compete with local player Souq.
But those ambitions appeared to take a knock when US giant Amazon acquired Souq in April, heralding its arrival in the region.
Noon responded in turn by acquiring UAE-based online marketplace Jado Pado in May, bringing its former CEO onboard as chief technology officer.
Omar Kassim left Noon weeks later, telling local media that he didn’t realise how deep the problems ran.
And 11 months after Noon’s initial announcement, the company has laid off hundreds of members of staff, and seen several key members of staff depart, including its chief executive.
The company has now permanently moved its operations to Riyadh, and in May it acquired 51 per cent of luxury fashion eCommerce site Namshi to bolster Noon’s clothing offering.