PayPal Announces Partnership with Aramex, Seeks to Double MENA Market Share in 3 Years

Wael Nabbout, Nov 14 2012

PayPal is currently looking to strengthen its presence in the Middle East and North Africa region. The global online payment service, who is following in the footsteps of other major internet heavy weights in the region by opening local offices in Dubai in the next few months, has just announced a partnership with Aramex to support its Shop and Ship service.

With their powers combined, MENA netizens will have a secure way to purchase goods online from abroad and a reliable shipping route for delivery. Firstly, PayPal will allow cross border payment in places where local credit cards are not accepted. Aramex's Shop and Ship service on the other hand offers users remote mail boxes in the U.S., U.K., and China, from which the goods are later sent home.

"We are looking to challenge the way we do ecommerce in the Middle East the same way we did around the world, by offering a safe and easy way to pay online," expressed Elias Ghanem, Managing Director of PayPal Middle East and North Africa

Locally, PayPal hopes to reduce cash on delivery payments, currently representing 80% of the market, something which Elias believes is the result of lack of trust from consumers that merchants might not deliver. And while he does acknowledge  that it remains a matter preference in some instances, he was keen to highlight the perks of using PayPal. "Safety and convenience. You don't have to be at home when the product is delivered, and our buyer protection policy ensures that consumers are reimbursed in case the delivery is faulty or doesn't happen."

The service is already integrated with major regional players, including Souq, Sukar, Cobone, Namshi, MarkaVIP, and Emirates Airlines, and the company also expects up to 25,000 merchants to come on board. In doing so, PayPal aims to double its 5% ecommerce market share in MENA within the next three years.

On the subject of consumer online spending, Elias remarked that there is a 50/50 split between digital and physical goods. Gaming is a recurrent digital purchase in the region, while "traditional categories" dominate physical goods with airlines, electronics, followed by fashion.

PayPal is currently fully functional in 7 markets in the region: the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait, in addition to the more recently added Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and Oman. The company plans to expand its services in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Yemen, where the service is restricted to customer purchases, and eventually conquer new territories with Lebanon and Egypt.


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