Amazon could finally land in Singapore this week
The story of Amazon's coming to Southeast Asia may as well have been written by Samuel Beckett - we all talk about it a lot but it never shows up.
Until now, that is.
After a long time of "will they, won't they," the US ecommerce giant could launch Amazon Prime Now in Singapore this week, reports TechCrunch.
Amazon Prime Now is a subscription-based service that allows customers to buy items online and have them delivered within two hours.
Available products include electronics, household items, and even groceries. Subscribers also have access to Amazon's streaming video service.
Singapore is already home to AWS, with offices and employees handling this side of the business for the Asia-Pacific market.
Amazon enters a bubbling cauldron of a market, with incumbents in the region ranging from individual ecommerce marketplaces like Qoo10 and Tokopedia, to Chinese juggernaut Alibaba, which flexed its muscles in Southeast Asia by buying local company Lazada.
Lazada CEO Max Bittner mentioned on stage at Tech in Asia Singapore 2017 that he expected Amazon to launch here in late May.
"They've been delayed a few times, but maybe they'll get it right this time," he said. Turns out they were delayed only one more time.
Lazada, along with online grocery service Redmart (which it acquired last year) and in collaboration with Uber and Netflix, launched a subscription service in April called LiveUp that offers users rewards, discounts, and other perks.
The service is meant to preempt Amazon Prime Now's offerings.
"We thought it was very powerful to bring to the customers something they really wanted across multiple services, to have a much better offering than what Amazon will bring to them," said Alexis Lanternier, CEO of Lazada Singapore, at the time.
More traditional omnichannel retail groups like Luxasia are jumping on the ecommerce opportunity in the region.
Luxasia recently participated in a funding round in ecommerce enabler Anchanto to explore the online retail segment.
The announcement comes a few months after the company landed in Australia, where it's setting up a number of fulfillment centres in the country and hiring hundreds of new employees.
The new headcount will complement the current staff of about 1,000, employed in its AWS and Kindle components.