Amazon has today launched its membership-based program Amazon Prime in Singapore, marking the US giant’s latest major incursion into the Southeast Asian ecommerce market.
It s debut comes just days after online shoppers in the city-state reported that free shipping from Amazon’s US was no longer available. The ecommerce company’s Marketplace is not present in Singapore, but since 2013 its US business did offer free shipping to the city-state on orders over US$125. Amazon confirmed yesterday that the feature had been permanently scrapped, without offering further explanation.
However, the launch of Amazon Prime has introduced a new framework for shipping items from the US site. It may be an indication that a local Marketplace is on its way.
Consumers in the city-state that sign up to Amazon Prime will now be able to access a range of members-only services.
These include faster and cheaper shipping of items purchased through Amazon’s platform. Free two-hour delivery will be available this week for orders of certain items made through Amazon’s Prime Now app that are more than S$40 in total value. Amazon is also offering unlimited free international shipping on orders above S$60 in total value on over 5 million items from its US site.
Singaporean Prime members will also be able to stream Amazon’s exclusive catalogue of movies and TV shows through Prime Video, and gaming benefits through Twitch Prime.
As part of a promotional effort, Amazon is offering Prime membership to Singaporeans for a cut-price of S$2.99 (US$2.22) per month for a limited time, after which it will cost S$8.99 (US$6.67) per month. The first 30 days of Prime membership will be free.
Prime’s arrival not only ups the stakes in Southeast Asia’s ecommerce market, where Amazon is facing off against Sea’s Shopee, Alibaba-backed Lazada and Tokopedia, and various smaller portals. It also brings Amazon into direct competition with local content streaming players such as iFlix, Hooq, and Viddsee, as well as global rivals like Netflix.
Converted from Singapore dollar. Rate: US$1 = S$1.35.
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