Amazon’s premium subscription service Amazon Prime has launched in the United Arab Emirates. The launch that was announced in a statement today comes almost a month after Souq.com (in UAE) which was acquired by Amazon about two years ago for $580 million, was rebranded to Amazon.ae.
The subscription is priced at AED 16 ($4.4) per month or AED 140 ($38.1) per year. The introductory price, however, until October, is AED 12 ($3.3) per month. Amazon is also offering free 30-day trial of the service. The customers in United States pay $119 for Amazon Prime but obv. have access to a larger inventory of products and bigger entertainment catalog.
Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder of Souq.com and Vice President of Amazon MENA, commenting on the occasion, said, “We are working hard every day to expand our product range, give customers even greater value, and continually improve the shopping experience here in the UAE. With the addition of Prime, customers can now enjoy the most convenient way to shop, access unlimited and award-winning entertainment, and shop exclusive deals on Prime Day.”
Amazon Prime, according to Amazon’s website, will offer customers in UAE: free next-day delivery on Prime eligible selection with no minimum purchase, discounted same-day delivery, free international expedited delivery on “millions of eligible items” shipped from Amazon US with international orders over AED 100, and free access to Amazon’s SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) platform Prime Video and Twitch, the live-streaming platform for gamers.
Prime Video that is also available in UAE through Du (a mobile operator) for AED 132 (in a complicated offer) includes movies, TV shows, and Amazon Originals.
Jamil Ghani, Amazon’s Vice President of Prime and Marketing International, speaking to The National, said “We look to expand [our] catalog over time, but we already know that the combination of English-language content – Amazon Originals – plus content that we’re producing in India – Bollywood and otherwise – is really appealing and has gotten a great uptake here,” said Mr Ghani.
A report on the state and future of ecommerce in MENA published by Bain & Co. earlier this year had pointed out that the launch of Amazon Prime in India in 2016 had served as a catalyst for the growth of ecommerce there. We’ll have to wait to see if Amazon could replicate the same success in MENA as well.