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>> Amazon going shopping in Dubai. Sources telling Reuters the US e-commerce giant has agreed in principle to buy 100% of one of the Middle East's best-known names in online shopping, Souq is the Arabic word for market. Neither Amazon or Souq responded to request for a comment. The Dubai based online retailer was valued at a billion dollars in a funding round last year but sources say that valuation has since dropped.
Reuters global tech editor, Jonathan Weber.>> Generally, Amazon is not bad acquisitive of a company, this is definitely one of their larger acquisitions, they do prefer to build. But I think of situation where the timing of the market opportunity is very important, so things are kind of really heating up right now.
And it might take Amazon some years to build out its own operation and maybe it'll have missed the window by then.>> launched in 2005 as an Internet auction site and has developed into a retailer and marketplace for third party vendors serving several markets including the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
>> There's a young population there that is very tech savvy. Cell phone penetration is very high, smartphone penetration. They're furious users of social media. And so the potential for e-commerce growth in the Middle East is quite substantial. There's also quite a bit of money in the region, obviously.
And a lot of appetite especially among the wealthier customers for North American goods in particular and so that presents some obvious opportunities.>> Suoq is one of the biggest players in an overall Middle Eastern e-commerce market estimated to be worth $20 billion in 2016.