Two Singaporeans to lead Amazon’s services here, online retail giant to create ‘hundreds of jobs’
AMAZON, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, has finally landed in Singapore, making its entry in Southeast Asia and challenging the likes of regional players Lazada, Redmart and Qoo10 in the local market.
The online retailer announced today the launch of Amazon Prime Now, offering free one- to two-hour delivery of products from eggs to toys to consumer durables. Amazon also inaugurated its largest global Amazon Prime Now facility at Mapletree Logistics Hub.
The online retailer has relocated two overseas Singaporeans – Mr Aarif Nakhooda and Mr Henry Low – as directors of Amazon Prime Now Asia Pacific. Both have experience in managing Amazon’s operations in the United Kingdom and United States, and will jointly lead the new operating model for Amazon Prime Now in Singapore.
Mr Henry Low oversees fulfilment, delivery, supply chain, procurement and operations integration. He joined Amazon UK in 2010. Prior to Amazon, he enlisted in the Singapore Armed Forces in 1993 and was awarded the Sword of Honour and the SAF Merit Scholarship.
Mr Aarif Nakhooda, who has more than 15 years of experience in e-commerce, retail, finance and optimisation, joined Amazon in Seattle in 2012.
“Prime Now is powered by Amazon’s more than 20 years of operational and technological experience and hundreds of Singapore’s skilled associates … The service will drive Singapore’s urban logistics, retail and ecommerce industries as well as benefit small and medium enterprises with direct participation in the advancing digital economy,” said Mr Aarif Nakhooda, director of Amazon Prime Now Asia Pacific.
Amazon said its Prime Now service is exclusive to members of Amazon Prime but will be available without the membership to Singaporeans for a limited period of time.
The company is expected to create “hundreds of jobs” in Singapore over the next three years, across managerial, technical and operations roles and can serve as a valuable partner for local retailers, brands and individual merchants, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said at the launch event of Amazon Prime Now in the Republic.
“By tapping on the Amazon Prime Now platform and its global fulfilment networks, local businesses can access and serve global markets at scale and speed,” said Mr Iswaran. Citing examples of local brands like Tiger Balm and Mamypoko, he said these brands are working with Amazon to make their businesses e-commerce-ready, such as by improving their supply chain management and digital inventory.
Amazon announced the launch of a new operating model with Amazon Prime Now in Singapore. Through the use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, and innovative concepts using algorithms for storage and delivery, Amazon expects to achieve significant gains in labour productivity and infrastructure utilisation, as well as near real-time delivery of goods in cities. Such an operating model will strengthen Amazon’s costcompetitiveness and agility, both in Asia and globally, he said.
“Amazon is committed to continue investing in talent development and providing training opportunities for our people to build up the requisite technical, entrepreneurial and creative skillsets. These skillsets range from software engineering, digital marketing, data analytics and mining, to product management and partnerships development,” Mr Iswaran said.
According to Mr Iswaran, a new phase of digital transformation with the potential to bring about enormous opportunities is taking place globally and Singapore is well-positioned to capture these opportunities. “A new phase of digital transformation is taking place globally. Digital technologies are disrupting value chains across industries, as well as changing the way we live and work,” he said.
The World Economic Forum places Singapore among the top seven techready economies globally, while the IMD World Competitiveness Centre ranks Singapore as the most digitally competitive country, Mr Iswaran highlighted.
“While technological change and business model innovation can disrupt the established norms of industry, it can also create new pathways and possibilities – for individuals and enterprises alike. Our challenge is to be prepared to embrace that change, adapt to the new norms, and benefit from the new opportunities they present,” Mr Iswaran said.
Delivery times for Amazon Prime Now in Singapore will be from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week. Two-hour delivery is available across all delivery areas, whereas one-hour delivery is only available in selected postal codes.
The Amazon Prime Now app says it delivers to addresses in mainland Singapore and Sentosa but does not currently service outlying islands.