Dubai-based e-commerce platform Noon, often dubbed the Middle East’s version of Amazon, has cut 10% of its workforce as part of a cost-reduction strategy to boost efficiency, according to founder Mohamed Alabbar. The layoffs included jobs in marketing, advertising and other departments.
Noon, which operates in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, was created in 2016 and raised $1 billion from backers, including the Public Investment Fund, to set up the firm.
Alabbar, who owns 50% of Noon, while Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund owns the other half, said that the company had already been cutting costs and reducing staff for the past year and a half. “We started before the big tech companies did, but we’re done now,” he said.
The move comes as some of the world’s largest tech companies, such as Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Meta Platforms, have reduced headcounts to improve performance and cut costs. However, some Middle Eastern tech firms, including Noon and Kitopi, remain long-term candidates for potential initial public offerings (IPOs).
In 2021, Alabbar said investors, including PIF, were set to inject $2bn to help Noon upgrade its infrastructure to speed up deliveries. However, speaking recently, he noted that the company's "cash burn rate has gone down drastically and our margins are getting better," so "we may not need to get that $2bn".