His father was a Syrian merchant, now Ronaldo Mouchawar is mixing with the biggest e-commerce company in the world.
Weeks after finalising the $580m sale of Souq.com to Amazon, the co-founder and CEO has just returned from his first real holiday in “years”. The break seems to have done him good. For a man who weeks ago closed one of the most talked about transactions in tech, he appears carefree.
But while laid back, he is absolute about the job ahead: “this is day one in our integration” he repeats throughout our interview. The phrase reminds him of the work ahead as much as it attempts to sedate anyone trying to extract details of what this historic deal means for the future of Souq.com and e-commerce in the region.
“A lot of work is taking place to figure those [details] out,” Mouchawar says.
“More [product] choice is critical, but also how we can tap into the global presence of Amazon, across multiple geographies and market places.”
For Souq.com there is no doubt joining the Amazon family, which also includes Alexa, Goodreads and Zappos, is a coup. But it is far more significant than the impact on one business. The entry of the $475bn giant to the Arab world is expected to advance the region’s e-commerce industry faster than any organic growth has been able to.
“The potential in this region is massive,” Mouchawar declares. “Online will continue to grow and now with Amazon and the know-how and technology and product selection that Amazon brings, and its focus on … consumers in the region, I think it’s really a good time for everyone.
“This investment will attract more investment into the sector – from current retailers that are trying to do online channels to global retailers – in this region.”
Online sales account for just 2 percent of total retail sales in the Middle East. That compares to about 9 percent in the US, 17 percent in the UK, and 15 percent in China, according to various analyses.
“So we feel online is growing faster [in the Middle East] and this is where the opportunity is for everyone,” Mouchawar says. More info
By Courtney Trenwith arabianbusiness.com