Online retailer Amazon is supposedly preparing to enter the Southeast Asian market in early 2017. Details are still rather light, but it sounds like the company is ready to take on rivals Alibaba in the region by offering services like Amazon Prime and AmazonFresh.
The original report indicates that Singapore will be the base of operations for Amazon in this region, with plans to expand into Indonesia as well. There’s no mention of other countries as of yet, but it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine that it will eventually cater to Malaysia.
Amazon itself has been quietly acquiring assets in Singapore, and has apparently done this without tipping anyone off. The company has established a fleet of refrigerated lorries and has already begun hiring employees.
It’s not surprising that Amazon chose Singapore as its starting point for this part of the world. The country often attracts foreign companies looking for a foothold in Southeast Asia. That being said, Amazon will surely face a lot of challenges with adapting to the wildly differing cultures and environments across SEA countries.
While the news of Amazon’s services being extended to this region is encouraging, Malaysians currently have no shortage of online shopping options. Sites like Lazada, 11Street, and GemFive all already offer plenty of those who prefer to avoid physical shops.
The challenge here is for Amazon to offer something that these other marketplaces cannot. Sure, there is the overnight delivery from Amazon Prime; but it will probably take the company a long while to establish the necessary logistics chain to ensure it works.