News portal TechCrunch reported that online retail giant Amazon has set its eyes on Asia, particularly Southeast Asia after it pumped $3 billion into business in India and a week after it quietly introduced its Prime service in China.
Word has it that it plans to enter Southeast Asia next year by way of Singapore.
While Amazon has not provided an official response as yet, it has been reported that it is covertly acquiring assets, including refrigerated trucks, and making new hires as part of an initiative led by Steven Scrive, its regional chief.
The plan is to launch selected services in Singapore within the first quarter, said TechCrunch quoting an anonymous source.
It’s a bold move but here’s why Amazon will thrive in a region of 600 million consumers:
It’s the new e-commerce frontier
Alibaba has doled out US$1 billion for a majority stake in regional online marketplace Lazada. China’s JD.com has set up shop in Indonesia. Japan’s SoftBank, along with Sequoia Capital and SB Pan-Asia Fund, invested US$100 million in Tokopedia, the largest online market place in Indonesia. The list is expected to grow bigger.
The rate of digital adoption in Southeast Asia is unmatched. The Philippines sends more texts than any other country, and Jakarta is the world’s No. 1 city for tweets. Overall, there are more than 250 million smartphone users in the region.
It’s home to a hot and vibrant start-up scene
Take ride-sharing behemoth GrabCar which started out as a start-up and now is a regional business giving Uber a run for its dollar.
Uskoop is another example. The Singapore-based venture consolidates purchases from US retailers to offer consumers steep discounts on delivery fees.
It’s social-media mad
The unique thing about Southeast Asia is simply its disloyalty towards brands with consumers willing to hop from on to another. Social media is their main port of call when it comes to shopping. More than 80% of the region’s digital consumers use social media such as Instagram and Facebook to research products and connect with sellers.
Companies are now expanding their services to attract consumers with social media comprising up to 30% of all transactions.