Amazon’s desire to expand its Prime service is rubbing off on its subsidiaries. Middle Eastern e-Commerce powerhouse Souq has acquired Wing, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based startup that is building out a courier network for same-day and next-day deliveries for various e-Commerce marketplaces (including Souq.com).
Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. The two companies have partnered in the past, with Souq previously making an undisclosed investment in Wing.
Amazon, through Souq, is likely hoping that the Wing acquisition will allow it to offer fast, inexpensive delivery options in the Middle East and North Africa. The goal would be to attract more consumers in these regions, just as Amazon Prime has 85 million subscribers in the U.S. It’s possible that Amazon may even bring Prime to the region if the partnership proves to be effective.
Amazon made its first move in the Middle East when it purchased Souq for $580 million in July 2017. The company, like Amazon, doubles as a retailer and marketplace, and presently delivers to seven countries, including the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.
The Middle East is still a relatively green e-Commerce market, giving Amazon/Souq and Wing a jump on potential competitors seeking to establish a platform there. While e-Commerce only represents approximately 2% of retail sales in the Middle East and North Africa (the lowest share in the world), it is still a market with massive growth potential, expanding 30% per year as credit card adoption and mobile penetration continue to rise.