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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Amazon Saudi launch goes ahead despite Bezos, MbS feud

Amazon said it is building an extensive operations network in Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 June, 2020

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Amazon's Saudi investments appear unharmed by a personal dispute between CEO Jeff Bezos and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

E-commerce colossus Amazon launched its first website for Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, in a sign that business will continue despite a dispute between the company's CEO Jeff Bezos and the kingdom's de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi shoppers, who previously used Souq.com which was acquired by Amazon in 2017, will now be able to use the new Amazon website with their old account information.

Amazon carried out a similar move last year by converting Souq's UAE operation to Amazon.ae.

In a statement, Amazon said it is setting up an operations network in Saudi Arabia that already includes 14 warehouses, 1,400 workers and a partnership with Saudi Post.

Speculation that Amazon would pull out of Saudi Arabia arose after leaked text messages between Bezos and his lover were published in early 2019.

The entrepreneur's security chief said that the source of the leak was Saudi Arabia - a claim supported by UN experts who said they held information pointing to the "possible involvement" of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an alleged plot to hack Bezos’ phone.

Saudi Arabia has dismissed the allegations as "absurd".

Read more: Saudi Arabia hacked Jeff Bezos' phone and the Trump administration couldn't care less

E-commerce magnate Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post, which hired slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a columnist.

Khashoggi's brutal murder in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate in October 2018 was carried out by Saudi operatives who intelligence agencies have said were linked to Prince Mohammed.

The kingdom has long denied links between the prince and the assassination, which Riyadh says was the work of rogue agents.

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