Amazon’s hiring signals renewed ambitions in China

2017-09-14 02:53:47 GMT2017-09-14 10:53:47(Beijing Time) Shenzhen Daily

AMAZON.COM Inc. is hiring by the hundreds in China to fill jobs ranging from Internet software engineers to designers for Alexa, positioning the company to recoup some of the market share it lost to Alibaba Group Holding in the world’s largest online shopping arena.

The online retail giant lists almost 400 Chinese-based openings on its careers website and more than 900 on LinkedIn. They include senior executives to manage and acquire content, a leader to expand its fledgling Amazon Lending program and a head for its storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall. And it’s hiring a hardware engineer to, among other things, evangelize for digital assistant Alexa, which works with third party products even though the Echo speaker isn’t available in China.

While the Seattle-based company still sells goods from abroad to Chinese consumers and has local cloud computing customers, Amazon’s been relegated to a small player in a domestic e-commerce market dominated by Alibaba and JD.Com. But like fellow U.S. companies Facebook and Google, it isn’t giving up on the world’s most populous nation despite powerful domestic players.

Amazon is encouraging its more than 2 million merchants, many who only sell in the United States, to use Amazon to reach international markets. It offers services for language translation, currency conversion and tariffs to streamline the process for merchants who think it’s too cumbersome and costly to sell abroad.

Amazon’s market share in China continues to shrink in the face of fierce competition. Its sales represented just 1.1 percent of China’s online gross merchandise value in 2015, and by 2016 that figure had dropped to 0.8 percent, according to an ICBC note that cited iResearch.

But Amazon has used its global reputation to keep a foothold in the business of importing goods for China’s rising middle class, who seek safe foods and authenticity. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Amazon controlled 7 percent of the country’s cross-border commerce, according to ICBC. It launched its Prime free-shipping service in late 2016.

“In the past two years, Amazon’s recognized the trend of rising Chinese consumption and persisted in developing its cross-border business,” said Chen Tao, a researcher with Analysys. “The addition of the Prime program propelled that and it’s had fair success with the business.”

In the first quarter, the company’s cross-border sales were 11 times bigger than their level two years earlier.

Ocean Audit, which tracks the global movement of goods, said Amazon imported 14,885 shipping containers’ worth of goods in 2016. This year it’s predicted to reach 20,000, according to chief executive officer Steve Ferreira.(SD-Agencies)

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