Amazon launches Prime Now in Singapore

Amazon launches Prime Now in Singapore

After launching its video-streaming service Prime Video in December a year ago and the (finicky) Prime Now quick delivery service in July, the internet giant today launched its Amazon Prime membership programme in the city-state - the first in Southeast Asia to enjoy the benefits (limited as they may be).

But with the launch of Amazon Prime, "unlimited free worldwide shipping will now be exclusively a Prime member benefit moving forward", Amazon told The Straits Times.

For the first time, and just in time for the busy holiday season, Amazon is extending its one- or two-hour Prime Now delivery service to goods sold on its Handmade site, which, as the name suggests, offers items made by artisans or small teams of local producers. While subscribers will get access to same day deliveries via Prime Now, it will only apply to some 5 million items from the worldwide selection, compared to over 50 million in the U.S., with free shipping if they spend S$60 ($45).

The local Prime membership benefits do not apply to items bought on Amazon websites in other countries, however, and customers with existing US Prime memberships can not convert them to local ones.

Singapore will be the first country in Southeast Asia, and 16th globally, to launch Amazon Prime.

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The launch of Amazon Prime comes just after the company ended its Free AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping option to Singapore on Monday, which enabled shoppers here to get free global shipping with a minimum order of US$125.

Membership is available for $8.99 per month.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Ghani acknowledged that some living in the country already have Amazon Prime memberships for the United States site.

Speaking about the launch of Amazon Prime, Jamil Ghani, vice-president of Amazon Prime International, said, "Prime membership is created to offer the best of Amazon".

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is going head-to-head with China's biggest e-commerce company in a key Asian market. Benefits offered include rebates and discounts for online supermarket RedMart, Netflix and Uber. "Whether Amazon will be able to retain them and turn them into loyal customers will depend on the consistency of its service quality and if Amazon can provide more value to their customers that they are otherwise unable to get from other retailers". "Customers in Singapore have been enjoying ultra-fast delivery with Prime Now since July, and now, the introduction of Amazon Prime will take their shopping experience to the next level", said Jamil Ghani, vice president, Amazon Prime worldwide.

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