Sci-tech

Amazon launches Prime Now in Singapore

Amazon launches Prime Now in Singapore

In July, the e-commerce giant made its biggest push into Southeast Asia by launching a free two-hour delivery service in the city-state, marking its first head-on battle with Chinese rival Alibaba Group Holding.

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). Its service, which offers free two-hour delivery from its local warehouse with a minimum order of $40 between 10 am and 10 pm daily via the Prime Now app, will also be made exclusive for members.

An Amazon customer service officer contacted through the website's live chat function on Tuesday (Dec 5) said that free shipping to Singapore ended on Monday (Dec 4).

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Today, 6 November, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Singapore. A message on the checkout page of Amazon's USA store now states that "items shipped to addresses outside the U.S. are not eligible for free shipping".

Free two-day shipping is very important to Amazon Prime members - so much, in fact, that they would cancel their membership if it wasn't offered. The monthly membership is priced at SGD8.99, but it is going at SGD2.99 as an introductory offer. Existing Amazon Prime Video subscribers in Singapore will not be forced into joining Prime, however, it will no longer be available for subscription as a standalone service. But for a limited period, it will go for $2.99 a month, although Amazon did not specify for how long.

While benefits are only restricted to the mobile app, Ghani said that more will be added in the future for Prime membership in Singapore. They're getting Amazon Prime, but only for products that they purchase from Amazon in the USA some 9,000 odd miles away.

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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 has just extended its e-commerce tendrils even deeper into the Singapore market.

Events coordinator Mabel Tan, 26, said that Prime does not have a strong enough draw for her at the moment, but if it adds "more products and services, I will consider the membership".

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