Battle of Jeff and Jack brewing online

Mr Jack Ma's Alibaba controls Lazada, which has been called South-east Asia's Amazon. The Singapore-based e-tailer plans to focus on offering shoppers "the largest assortment" of goods, and benefits like free delivery. Amazon, headed by CEO Jeff Bezo
Amazon, headed by CEO Jeff Bezos, plans to enter the Singapore market early next year. Consumers here can benefit from faster shipping and easier returns as it is expected to set up a warehouse here.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Mr Jack Ma's Alibaba controls Lazada, which has been called South-east Asia's Amazon. The Singapore-based e-tailer plans to focus on offering shoppers "the largest assortment" of goods, and benefits like free delivery. Amazon, headed by CEO Jeff Bezo
Mr Jack Ma's Alibaba controls Lazada, which has been called South-east Asia's Amazon. The Singapore-based e-tailer plans to focus on offering shoppers "the largest assortment" of goods, and benefits like free delivery. PHOTO: REUTERS

Online shopping is the space to watch next year when Amazon's chief executive Jeff Bezos and Mr Jack Ma, whose Alibaba controls Singapore-based e-tailer Lazada, slug it out for Singapore consumers' hearts and wallets.

With Amazon's plans to enter the Singapore market early next year, consumers will have a wider choice of products, possibly sourced from a global list of suppliers, said professor of strategy and policy Kulwant Singh of the National University of Singapore's Business School.

Although the online giant offers free shipping of certain items from its United States warehouse to Singapore - for orders worth at least US$125 (S$170) - many items such as laptops, media players and the Kindle tablet do not ship here.

Prof Singh expects the service to remain. "Amazon may want to target buyers it has not tapped before with the free shipping plan," he added.

Touted as South-east Asia's Amazon, Singapore-based e-tailer Lazada is not letting go of its share of the local retail scene without a fight.

 

Lazada Singapore's chief executive officer Alexis Lanternier said it will focus on offering shoppers "the largest assortment" of goods, and benefits like free delivery and a hassle-free 14-day returns policy.

It now offers 17 categories of goods, including clothes and consumer electronics supplied by over 5,000 merchants.

The Straits Times understands that Lazada attracts suppliers to list on its site by offering them its warehouse space to store their goods at a low cost.

Lazada was started by German Internet company Rocket Internet in 2011. Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba bought a controlling stake in Lazada in April this year in a US$1 billion deal.

Lazada, in turn, acquired online grocer RedMart on Wednesday.

Irene Tham

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Battle of Jeff and Jack brewing online'. Print Edition | Subscribe