Knocking on the UAE’s doors
The golly green G (Groupon Middle East) of daily dealers launched the Arabic version of its website this weekend just in time to capitalize on its presence in the Gulf region where the company has plans to open six regional offices. The company stated in the press release that “Groupon’s decision to develop a website that is catered exclusively to the audience in this region comes as a result of the company’s continuous effort to share their exciting offers with the Arabic speaking audience.”
According to Alexander Kappes, Chief Executive Office of Groupon Middle East, “this is not just another language version of the site, it is a new platform to aid communication with the local audience in their own language and with the Middle East customer in mind.”
On September 22nd, I discussed Groupon’s Middle East plans in greater detail. The company is forging ahead with its original expansion plan that includes opening as many as six new offices in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. The flip side of this equation is that Groupon anticipates further consolidation in the UAE as that region reaches a saturation point. In a recent post (October 10th) I discussed the fact that Jabbar may be unloading Cobone. Apparently Groupon sees opportunities in the region that others may not see.
Groupon’s arch rival, (Washington DC based) LivingSocial stated in August that it had closed down its operations in that region in order to concentrate on opportunities in other regions.
For those that follow Groupon as closely as I do know that the shares (GRPN) have plummeted over 75% based on the $20 IPO pricing. The company continues to reel in boatloads of revenue yet can’t seem to stick to GAAP accounting and show a profit. A main question many are pondering is whether this move into the Middle East will help turn the sub $5.00 share price (closed Friday, 10/19/12 at $4.69) around, or add to the company’s demise.