Alibaba-backed Lazada announced its acquisition of RedMart today, and they already have a rival to compete with as Amazon plans to introduce its prime e-commerce service and grocery deliveries in Singapore.
Currently, the e-commerce behemoth doesn’t offer local services in Southeast Asia but it is all set to debut in the region with Singapore launch in first quarter of 2017. ASEAN head Steven Scrive is leading the covert acquisition of assets including refrigerated trucks, hiring staff in the island-nation, two sources told TechCrunch. The company has made no formal announcement yet.
The U.S. retail giant currently plans to introduce selected services in the country. There is a high probability that it’ll launch its Prime delivery service alongside its grocery service – AmazonFresh.
This news comes at a time when the regions’ digital economy is set to undergo a period of significant growth over the next few years, coupled with a population estimated at 600 million and with four countries whose GDPs’ are expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2030 – Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.
Alibaba had entered the region with investments in Lazada, delivery company SingPost, and payments firm Ascend Money. Amazon was one of Redmart suitors earlier this year, but the transaction didn’t happen and now, Amazon is setting its foot in the market on its own. It already competes with Alibaba-backed Paytm, Flipkart and Snapdeal in India, and now will stand against its rival in the region.
Amazon also fueled a whopping $3 billion into its Indian segment and last week introduced its Prime service in China. Its plans to enter Indonesia have also surfaced, but reportedly, the company is primarily concentrating on its Singapore expansion. This is justified, considering the nation’s consumer culture which has made it a preference for many firms to establish their offices or headquarters. The company currently does not operate local sites in the region but provides free international shipping to customers through its AmazonGlobal Saver service for orders of at least US$125 worth and for goods sold directly by Amazon.