May 20, 2020

Amazon extends its southeast Asia expansion

Amazon southeast Asia
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Amazon extends its southeast Asia expansion

Not content with its global dominance and expansion into the Middle East this year, Amazon is set to expand its market reach within southeast Asia. The company will soon be establishing the foundations of its operations within Singapore, which will see it compete with local companies, such as Alibaba and Tencent Holdings.

This year, the company has also invested in, and entered, the whole foods market through the acquisition of US company Whole Foods, causing increased concerns with supermarket giants, as well as local Singapore e-grocery company Redmart. The expansion into southeast Asia will be no different.

Areas such as India and China are seeing increased strong economic growth as a result of significant investment from foreign players, such as Amazon and Apple, who wish to break into this competitive space. Amazon is even seeking to further cement its presence within India through its subsidiary Amazon Wholesale India, which supports the distribution of vital medicines and use of home and office supplies. The move will also add thousands more roles within the region.

A company spokesperson explained: “Amazon are relentlessly focussed on expanding its selection and raising the standard for customer experience and online shopping in India. With Amazon Wholesale India, the vision is to build a place where businesses can come to find and discover virtually anything they want to buy online.” This is, of course, through Amazon’s Prime services, as well as its regular e-commerce services.

Not one to back down from emerging competition, Alibaba has since been working to counteract any future damage to its reputation and service delivery through increasing its stake in e commerce company Lazada to over 80% in a $1 billion investment. It has also linked with US transportation company Uber.

However, Amazon is also reportedly looking at also procuring Indian start-up company Freecharge, to compete with local companies such as Singtel, and its payment operations within e-commerce, in order to effectively scale its revenue. Watch this space.

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.

Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.

Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.

Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.

As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.

It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.

But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.

As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.


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