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Bright future for e-commerce
Sandhya D’Mello (email@example.com) / 31 December 2013
Al Ghurair says alibaba.com tie-up to boost Dubai trade with global partners
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry sees bright prospects for e-commerce across the Middle East and North Africa and is confident of leading the region by adopting new technologies and approaches to global trade, its top official say.
The chamber, which recently collaborated with an international portal — alibaba.com — to launch a new e-commerce platform in the region, will go all-out to support its SME members to reach global markets more effectively.
“Dubai is the most sophisticated market in the region in terms of e-commerce and we will continue to invest in this segment to support the chamber members,” Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Khaleej Times during an interview.
Referring to recent statistics, he said that the UAE is the region’s largest market in terms of computer usage, accounting for about 54 per cent of consumer electronics spending in 2010. Total computer hardware sales are expected to grow by 26.5 per cent between 2011 to 2015 from $1.824 billion to $2.308 billion.
“The UAE offers the fastest download speed in the region and it gives Dubai added advantages in e-commerce combined with the emirate’s trade, transport and logistics facilities allowing for easy and cost effective shipments to multiple global markets,” Al Ghurair said.
Elaborating the chamber’s strategic partnership with alibaba.com, he said it is the leading global e-commerce platform for small businesses around the world and “our agreement is aimed to help our small and medium enterprise [SMEs] members to reach new global markets effectively.”
Launched in 1999, the website aims to be the go-to English-language platform for cross-border trade and help small businesses worldwide expand to overseas markets. As of December 31, 2012, the platform had around 36.7 million registered users from more than 240 countries and regions and showcased more than 2.8 million supplier storefronts.
“We hope that through the agreement it will facilitate and increase international trade through Dubai by businesses using the e-commerce platform. It is an exciting and innovative opportunity for Dubai Chamber members to trade with a global client base,” he said.
“For the first time, Dubai Chamber will leverage alibaba.com’s platform to offer businesses in the Mena region a unique opportunity to create new market prospects and to sell their products and services to businesses worldwide. This is an exciting new approach and one that will open doors into new markets for our members,” added Al Ghurair.
He said the chamber will continue to invest in e-commerce facilities for its members through the chamber website.
“At present we offer a range of e-services, like online mediation and certificate requests and facilities bookings, and we will look to extend these as the need arises and in line with demand from our members. We are aware that a large percentage of SMEs in the UAE still have no online presence, which severely impedes their growth prospects. A basic online presence is increasingly important for every business to help them access international markets,” Al Ghurair said.
To raise awareness of the subject and to help eliminate the negative perception of doing business online, the chamber organised the Middle East eCommerce Conference 2013 held in early December 2013 with the theme “Tap into the golden opportunity to become successful online” which focused on efforts aimed at facilitating and increasing international trade through the use of an e-commerce platform.
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