Does Amazon’s search for Chinese talent mean it’s fight time with Alibaba?
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Does Amazon’s search for Chinese talent mean it’s fight time with Alibaba?

Recently, we’ve written about an emerging Ecommerce showdown between the two undisputed heavyweight champions of the sector: Amazon and Alibaba. This showdown is in the Indian online grocery market – but it could finally be spilling out into the wider world. Alibaba has been challenging Amazon’s position as the most valuable Ecommerce company in the world, as its share price surges throughout the year. And now, Amazon has started looking for hundreds of Chinese workers – ranging from software engineers to designers – in a bid to claw back some of the market share it lost in the country to Alibaba.

Alibaba has been climbing aggressively this year

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SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Amazon has listed 400 Chinese-based career opportunities on its career website, and a further 900 on LinkedIn. They include positions all the way up to senior executives. But perhaps most tellingly, they include roles like hardware engineer to connect the company’s digital personal assistant Alexa with third-party products. The reason that’s a telling role is that Alexa isn’t even in China yet. But with the nascent smart-speaker market in the country so light on competition. Perhaps Amazon thinks it can breeze in and displace JD.com’s market lead.

The Chinese government’s limits on foreign companies operating in its jurisdiction have led to an alternate web within the country’s borders. Hence Google, Facebook, and Amazon have Chinese equivalents that will prove difficult to displace. In Amazon’s case, although it still sells goods in China, it has been reduced to a marginal company, with Alibaba and JD.com taking the bulk of the market. Now, Amazon wants at least some of it back.

Chen Tao, a researcher with Analysys, thinks the U.S. company has what it takes: “In this past two years, Amazon’s recognized the trend of rising Chinese consumption and persisted in developing its cross-border business. The addition of the Prime program propelled that and it’s had fair success with the business. As awareness grows and penetration improves, Amazon too can definitely rely on its own edge in global supply and logistics to invest further in cross-border commerce.”

The only question left is how much Amazon can get back – and how much further outside of China Alibaba can grow.

Disclosure

Dominion holds both Amazon and Alibaba in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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The views expressed in this article are those of the author at the date of publication and not necessarily those of Dominion Fund Management Limited. The content of this article is not intended as investment advice and will not be updated after publication. Images, video, quotations from literature and any such material which may be subject to copyright is reproduced in whole or in part in this article on the basis of Fair use as applied to news reporting and journalistic comment on events.