Amazon Prime launches in SE Asia

A picture taken on June 9, 2016 shows Amazon warehouse in Paris, part of the new service 'Prime Now'Image copyright
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Amazon Prime Now is a two-hour delivery service offered seven days a week

Amazon has launched its Prime Now delivery service in Singapore – the first time it has gone head-to-head with Chinese rival Alibaba in the region.

The move is its first step into South East Asia which has a population of about 600 million people.

Lazada, currently the region’s most dominant online shopping business, is controlled by Alibaba.

Amazon Prime Now promises delivery within two hours.

As well as groceries and electronics, customers will have access to higher-end Prime services including video streaming.

Prime Now is a service available to Amazon customers who subscribe to Amazon Prime by paying an annual fee. It was first launched in New York in December 2014 and has since expanded to more than 50 major cities in nine countries.

Asian invasion?

Amazon already has a significant presence in India and Japan but analysts say that South East Asia represents one of the biggest battlegrounds for e-commerce firms.

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Amazon may also release access to its video-streaming service in Singapore

However, it is a highly fragmented market, comprising many different cultures, languages and regulations.

Singapore is seen as a good testing ground for regional expansion because of the developed infrastructure and relatively wealthy population.

Redmart, the city-state’s largest existing online shopping service is owned by Alibaba-backed Lazada.

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