E-commerce opens a door to the future for a new generation of Middle East change-makers


By Majed M Al Tahan

The Middle East is a shopper’s paradise. It’s also a hotbed for digital technologies.

The Middle East is a shopper’s paradise. It’s also a hotbed for digital technologies, with some of the deepest levels of mobile and online usage per capita globally and e-service provision governments that lead the world. So it’s strange that the MENA region hasn’t made significant progress in terms of e-commerce.
Those looking for obstacles to e-commerce adoption point to market challenges in terms of infrastructure around payments, logistics and fulfillment services. And they say that people are happy with mall culture. But the reality is that consumers in the region are poorly served by online retailers, and they want more. They want convenience, they want wide choice and they want the flexibility e-commerce offers. They are willing to shop online internationally. So why not here?
That’s why AYM has been established. AYM is an investment holding company with a mission to build breakthrough digital technologies that will shape the future of ecommerce in the Middle East.

The idea of AYM started to take shape 10 years ago, while I was studying in London. There I noticed the chasm between the European and Saudi ecommerce landscapes. You can’t cross a chasm in small steps, you need to take a big jump and as the vision became clearer, I started to look for opportunities and collaborators – investors, operators and entrepreneurs with world class expertise – who could help achieve the dream.
The team at AYM combines the perfect blend of experience in building commercial scale, technical excellence and a passionate belief in the ability of technology to change the game in a range of different industries. And we are looking to expand our networks to help us deliver on this vision. Our first project – the Danube app and e-commerce platform reinvents what grocery shopping looks like in Saudi Arabia. I’ve no doubt it will be the first in a series of break-through technology initiatives.
We are still at the early stages of our journey in e-commerce.
Digital infrastructure is still scaling up in the Middle East. The Middle East is entering an e-commerce boom period. There is a glut of home-grown entrepreneurial talent in this region and a young demographic that can grow with a potentially thriving e-commerce industry. We are in a moment of harnessing the power of collaboration, paving the way for a new generation of change makers in the Middle East.