Borders to Enter Middle East

While Amazon has done little on the Web globalization front over the past year, Borders has been slowly but steadily expanding its retail presence outside the US. it currently has 54 locations in the UK, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore. It also has three stores in Puerto Rico.

On Friday, Borders announced a deal that would take it into the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This is a joint venture with the Al Maya Group.

According to the press release, “The first of what is expected to be multiple Borders stores in the United Arab Emirates will be located in Dubai at Deira City Centre, the premier shopping center in the GCC. The Borders stores will offer a vast array of book titles in English and Arabic. Borders will provide training and marketing support to Al Maya. The store will be operated by Al Maya consistent with the Borders brand experience.”

Currently, Borders uses Amazon to sell books online. I have to wonder what the marketing folks at Borders are thinking as they expand into a market that Amazon does not support linguistically. That’s not to say Amazon can’t support Arabic, but the company hasn’t added a language since 2004, when it launched support for French in Canada and purchased Chinese bookseller Joyo.

Borders had a down year sales-wise domestically; internationally is where the growth is right now. Last year Borders CEO Greg Josefowicz said he was looking betting big on intl. growth and this is one step in that direction. India is the other big step Borders plans to take; Amazon is creeping in that direction as well.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.