It might take a little longer than expect for Amazon to fully set up shop in Southeast Asia. The online retailer was expected to announce plans in the first quarter of 2017, but it looks like the situation has changed.
Amazon has not explicitly revealed plans for expansion into this region, although it has been quietly setting up shop in Singapore. The company has been recruiting drivers and acquiring assets in the island state; and was expected to have something to announce this year.
Early reports indicated that there would be something to see in Q1 2017; although that hasn’t entirely materialised. It is currently believed that the plans are being delayed until later this year.
That said, Amazon has already began to dip its toes into the Malaysian market. Amazon Prime Video quietly made its way into the country last December; although there wasn’t much fanfare. This could be an incidental entry into Malaysia, as the country was covered as part of a global roll out for the service.
Interestingly, Amazon has teased its entry into Australia instead. It was a simple Tweet with the hashtag #amazonau; indicating that the Pacific expansion could start there instead.
Amazon is almost certainly preparing to enter the Southeast Asian market. It has no choice but to get here quickly, or risk allowing rivals Alibaba to gain too much ground (particularly in Malaysia). Alibaba purchased a majority share in Lazada for some $1 billion (about RM4.43 billion); while CEO Jack Ma has been appointed as an advisor to the Malaysian government on matters of the digital economy.