By the looks of things, Lazada might get a bit more time to prepare for the arrival of a major overseas competitor.
Sources cited by TechCrunch indicate that Amazon’s plans to launch local services in Southeast Asia in Q1 have been delayed until at least later this year. Amazon has not yet made an official statement on the change of plans.
Southeast Asia is predicted to be the next site of an eCommerce boom. The number of smartphone users in the region is anticipated to surpass 257 million by 2020; likewise, Southeast Asia’s internet economy is projected to become a $278 billion market by 2025.
Amazon’s plan, as first heard in November of last year, was to launch Amazon Prime and AmazonFresh services, starting in Singapore in the first quarter of the year, as a means to roll into the region of over 620 million.
Southeast Asia–focused eCommerce startup Lazada Group, which Alibaba purchased a controlling stake $1 billion last year, currently dominates eCommerce activity and web traffic in the markets it serves, which include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Tencent has also made major bids to expand into the region.
But it looks like the eCommerce match set to start between Alibaba, Tencent and Amazon will have to wait — for now.
Instead, it appears as though Amazon might make a pit stop to set up shop in Australia first. ABC News Australia reported that Amazon had recently hired over 100 employees in logistics, IT and security roles in Sydney. These hires indicate that Amazon is looking to run warehouses locally in the country of over 24 million, increasing the number of products and services the online retail giant can provide while also cutting down on delivery times.
Australian retailers are naturally concerned. Time and time again, markets in the sights of the online retail giant’s expansion efforts have seen that the “Amazon Effect” is very real.