This launch will put pressure on Lazada, the e-commerce site owned by Alibaba, which is Amazon's primary competitor in Southeast Asia.
E-commerce giant Amazon launched its Prime membership programme in Singapore on Wednesday, which offers free global shipping and access to video streaming, among other things.
Mr Amos Tan, a Singapore Polytechnic senior lecturer in marketing and retail, said Amazon's removal of free shipping for non-members is a way of trying to lock in more customers.
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However, this does mean the previously free Prime Now service is gone, and users will have to subscribe to Prime if they even want to make a purchase locally, unlike local rivals Redmart and Honestbee, which do not require a subscription to order products such as diapers or groceries. In nine US markets, shoppers can purchase gifts from Amazon Handmade Artisans on Prime Now for delivery until 11:59 pm on Christmas Eve.
The Prime membership will entitle the customers of Singapore to have access to more than five million products listed on Amazon's site in the United States.
The company made its first foray into the region with the launch of its fast delivery service Prime Now in July.
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He added that Prime membership is "country-specific and not-transferable" so those with U.S. memberships are unable to use it locally, and that he encouraged Singaporeans "to leverage the Prime membership package developed specifically for Singapore".
Prime members will also be able to access content in Prime Video and Twitch Prime.
While free shipping and the ability to purchase worldwide goods at lower cost are Amazon's main draw for Singaporeans, it has upped its features to include streaming with the launch of Amazon Prime.
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Amazon.com will offer last-minute delivery of pottery, necklaces, candles and other handmade products ordered as late as Christmas Eve in nine US cities, including Seattle, looking to win orders from competing arts-and-crafts marketplace Etsy. While Amazon Handmade on Prime Now is just a short-term experiment, the trial shows that Amazon is willing to expand its local selection and appeal to an audience that prefers to shop small.