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Dubai businessman and Saudi wealth fund launch e-commerce platform

Dubai businessman Mohamed Alabbar is to launch a $1 billion e-commerce project that he believes will become the largest in the Middle East, in a joint venture with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. 16 Nov 2016

Noon.com will offer 20 million products when it launches in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in January 2017, and will then expand across the Middle East, Alabbar said.

"In one move, we are launching a future-focused company which is the biggest online shopping platform ever seen in the region," said Alabbar.

Alabbar stressed the long-term nature of the project.

"You have to look seven years out, and you need belief and dedication. Our investors and management, our whole ecosystem is focused on the long term," Alabbar said.

Noon will based in Riyadh, and will be 50% owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Doha-based Peter Blackmore of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "The market in the Middle East is starting to expand, with public spending growing massively. What's most interesting is that it is the state making this investment, rather than the private sector."