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AJEX, helping customer companies to open up the vast market in the Middle East - Interview with Ajlan Mohammed Al Ajlan, Deputy Group CEO of Ajlan & Bros Holding Group and Managing Director of AJEX

17 February 2022

On February 17, 2022, Saudi Arabia's Ajlan & Bros Holding Group announced that AJEX International Logistics ("AJEX"), a joint venture with SF International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will officially commence operations in January 2022.

According to Ajlan Mohammed Al Ajlan, Deputy CEO of Ajlan & Bros Holding Group and Managing Director of AJEX (hereinafter referred to as "Mr. Ajlan"), AJEX, as an express logistics service company with a global business scope, has obtained logistics-related operating qualifications and has the ability to provide logistics services in Saudi Arabia and even in the Middle East. The company's current operating capacity covers three major modes of transportation: land, air and sea. Consumers and businesses in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will be able to place one-click orders for goods from Chinese e-commerce platforms through AJEX's logistics services exclusive APP and interactive website. For Chinese companies, AJEX can help them open the doors to the Saudi and Middle East markets.

Strategic cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia dovetails deeply

AJEX came into being

Today, the economic and trade cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia can be regarded as a model of strategic cooperation in the world. In the first half of 2021, the bilateral trade volume between China and Saudi Arabia reached US$40.1 billion, a year-on-year increase of 21.4%. China has now become Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner, and Saudi Arabia is also China's largest trading partner in West Asia. This strong relationship is strengthened through multi-faceted cooperation between companies of both sides in response to China's "Belt and Road" initiative and Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030".

Mr. Ajlan introduced: In 2016, His Excellency Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, promulgated Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030", which supports Saudi Arabia to vigorously develop industries such as smart logistics, cultural tourism, and digital economy, and helps Saudi Arabia's economy gradually change from a single direction. Diversified transformation. In recent years, the logistics and transportation industry has played an increasingly important role in the development of Saudi Arabia’s national economy. The Saudi government attaches great importance to the development of the logistics and transportation industry, provides many preferential policies for the industry, and lists “building Saudi Arabia into a logistics hub connecting three continents”. It is one of the important goals of Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030". At the same time, with the rapid development of China's economy, it has become inevitable for Chinese companies to seek broader market opportunities overseas. AJEX came into being under the planning of smart logistics in Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030" and China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

Mr. Ajlan said: "We are honored that Ajlan & Bros Holding Group has this opportunity to provide support for the further deepening of China-Saudi Arabia strategic cooperation through AJEX. I look forward to AJEX giving full play to China's logistics industry in terms of customer experience and service quality. The outstanding advantages of logistics speed, reliability and accuracy, etc., can provide value for the rapid development of the logistics service industry in the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa in the future."

Strong alliance

Connecting the world's two largest markets

Ajlan & Bros Holding Group is Saudi Arabia's largest private enterprise in China, and has enjoyed a high reputation in investing in China for more than 20 years. This joint venture with Chinese logistics giant SF Express will give full play to the resources and advantages of the two companies. Ajlan & Bros Holding Group, a member of the Al Ajlan family, is a leading international diversified group focused on technology, focusing on financial services, consumer goods manufacturing, healthcare, education, gaming, mining, tourism and logistics. More than 15,000 employees in 15 countries and regions. ABHGA has rich local market resources in the Middle East and has a deep relationship with the Saudi government. The group of companies has more than 60 years of operating history in the Middle East and has rich resources in various fields such as retail, distribution and real estate. All this enables ABHGA to provide great support for AJEX to develop its business in the Middle East.

The international logistics giant SF Express has built a huge service network covering the world. With this service network, AJEX's services can cover most of the Chinese and Middle East and North African markets and radiate to the global market. Moreover, AJEX, headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has also established a strong technical support system. The company not only makes full use of the interactive website to facilitate the creation of orders and tracking shipments, but also builds a convenient logistics network for optimizing customer experience. Customers provide convenient and high-quality logistics solutions, covering end-to-end full-process services from overseas warehousing, sea transportation, air transportation, logistics customs clearance to customer delivery. With the cooperation of both shareholders, AJEX can provide seamless point-to-point logistics solutions for e-commerce, retail, manufacturing and supply chain, foreign trade and other industries in China and Saudi Arabia.


In the future, AJEX also plans to continue to increase the types of services and actively expand the local market, which will not only help the logistics service industry in the Middle East to transform and add value, but also make it develop in a more comprehensive, professional and perfect direction, and will also promote Saudi Arabia to become a new emerging world logistics and commerce. one of the centers.

The Middle East e-commerce market has huge potential

Excellent environment for developing cross-border business

Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030" has gradually modernized and diversified the country's economy, which has also boosted consumer demand for e-commerce and related services. Since the start of the COVID -19 pandemic, more than 200 million people in the MENA region have turned to e-commerce. Some 83% of consumers in the region say they will maintain or increase spending on e-commerce in 2022, and 60% say they prefer digital payments. In the entire MENA region, Saudi Arabia has the highest Internet penetration rate at 97%. Saudi Arabia is developing e-commerce with great enthusiasm and amazing speed. According to Societe Generale, Saudi Arabia's e-commerce market has been growing steadily, with turnover rising by an average of 11 percent. Total e-commerce revenue across all product categories in Saudi Arabia was $6.13 billion in 2017, growing to $9.41 billion by 2021. Today, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has 12.94 million e-commerce users (50% of all Internet users) and is one of the most in-demand countries in the entire MENA region. By 2022, the number of users is expected to increase to 19.28 million (54% of the total population).

If we look at the countries in the entire Middle East, we will find that the region has a younger population structure, a well-developed network infrastructure, and a high per capita disposable income. There is a strong demand for shopping, while the manufacturing industry accounts for a relatively large proportion of the national economy. Small, most light industrial products rely on imports, which creates favorable conditions for the development of e-commerce in the Middle East. Today, China is the largest import and export partner in the MENA region. The MENA region trades with China twice as much as its second-largest national export partner, the United States.

Judging from the policy orientation of the local government, the Saudi government attaches great importance to the development of the logistics and transportation industry. Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030" supports Saudi Arabia to vigorously develop industries such as smart logistics, cultural tourism, and digital economy, and lists "building Saudi Arabia into a logistics hub connecting three continents" as one of the important goals of Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030". To this end, the Saudi government has provided many preferential policies for the industry, and also announced the launch of the "National Industrial and Logistics Development Plan", which aims to build Saudi Arabia into a world-leading industry by promoting industrial upgrading and integrated development of industry, mining, energy and logistics. Powerhouse and logistics hub. With the improvement of the business environment, the logistics industry in Saudi Arabia has also ushered in an outbreak. The combination of government decentralization and regulation allows logistics companies to innovate boldly, and a series of favorable policies can enable logistics companies to develop steadily. With the gradual improvement of the e-commerce payment and logistics ecosystem, the penetration rate of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia has increased year by year, the proportion of online payment has increased year by year, and the volume of logistics goods has increased year by year.

Business layout to seize the opportunity

AJEX service operation learns from the Chinese model

Express licenses in the local logistics market in Saudi Arabia are characterized by scarcity. As a global express logistics service company, relying on the strong local strength and network of Ajlan Brothers Holding Group, AJEX has obtained the 19th express license issued by the local Saudi Arabian agency and the logistics-related operation qualifications, and has the The ability to provide logistics services in Saudi Arabia and even the Middle East can cover the three major modes of transportation: land transportation, air transportation and sea transportation. This has laid a solid foundation for the sound development of its business in the future.

In addition, AJEX is also undergoing rapid accumulation and layout in terms of software and hardware. For example, under the guidance of Saudi Arabia's "2030 Vision", Saudi Arabia is building one of the largest logistics parks in the region to support the sustainable development of the logistics industry, which enables AJEX's logistics operations to have better infrastructure and optimize customer service experience. In addition, through the team of e-commerce logistics experts, global fulfillment centers, partner networks and IT infrastructure construction, AJEX will provide customers with advice and professional overall solutions for their e-commerce supply chain strategies.

With the strong technical network and capabilities of its partner SF Express in China, AJEX will be able to quickly realize digital system operations, make full use of the interactive website to facilitate the creation of orders and track shipments, and provide services for e-commerce, retail, manufacturing in China and Saudi Arabia. Provide seamless point-to-point logistics solutions with supply chain, foreign trade and other industries, covering end-to-end full-process services from overseas warehousing, shipping, air transportation, logistics customs clearance (B2B/B2C) to customer delivery, and can also help based on different needs. Customers realize services such as last mile shipping, COD and VAT registration.

At present, the Saudi express network is mainly based on traditional commercial items. Relatively speaking, the e-commerce item network is a new type of project. AJEX leverages SF’s operational capabilities, IT capabilities and in-depth understanding of all aspects of the e-commerce supply chain, combined with local resources, to establish an efficient e-commerce network that is different from traditional commercial items, and perfectly integrates into the Chinese supply chain. Chinese e-commerce has achieved rapid growth in the Saudi market. In the specific supply chain service operation, AJEX will refer to China's warehousing supply chain rules for overseas warehouse layout to improve service quality. The specific method is to adopt the warehouse group + multi-warehouse linkage mode commonly used in China, and mainstream cities can achieve D+1 aging. Inter-warehouse allocation is carried out through big data prediction, and the goods are delivered to customers in the first time. The traditional model is that the single warehouse in Riyadh is distributed nationwide, while AJEX has warehouses in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Jizan, and the Dammam warehouse is also under construction. In this way, AJEX can realize that the time limit for performance on the coast of the Red Sea will be 2 days faster than the traditional model, and the comprehensive cod sign-off rate is 2.5% higher.

AJEX carries out differentiated innovation

Future goals world-class

According to Mr. Ajlan's introduction to this reporter, at present, AJEX's development strategy is to learn and imitate first and then make innovations based on local differences, "AJEX will give full play to the advantages of the local Saudi team and the Chinese team. Helping and empowering, the local Saudi team will take advantage of their familiarity with the local market to build an efficient service team and further improve our service quality. Combining local differences, we will further expand the smart warehouse and smart distribution business.”

In the future, AJEX is committed to growing into a world-class logistics service company, dedicated to bringing customers better and better logistics services and experiences, and hopes to provide the most reliable and safest transportation, customs clearance and delivery services throughout the Middle East and North Africa. "In the future, we will build a professional team that can adapt to customer needs and meet customer expectations. With the support of high-tech and infrastructure, we will provide sustainable logistics one-stop solutions and services with high efficiency and high quality. In addition, AJEX also We hope to continuously introduce new technologies, which is the key to an invincible enterprise, which is why we are constantly trying to serve customers with artificial intelligence technology. This technology will help AJEX go beyond the current digital technology and continuously improve customer logistics and transportation experience."