Amazon’s Australia launch “really close”, says Country Manager Rocco Braeuniger
As the festive shopping season approaches, Amazon’s official launch into Australia has been described as “really close” by its Country Manager Rocco Braeuniger.
Braeuniger did not reveal the exact date, but it looks like the US ecommerce giant will be in operation in time for the Christmas and New Year shopping season.
Customers in Australian can already order products from oversees, but the establishment of locally-based warehouses will greatly reduce shipping costs and turnaround times, something which other big retailers are responding to.
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- Read the November edition of Business Review Australia magazine
Braeuniger was speaking at an event held on Sydney’s waterfront designed to sign up more sellers to the ecommerce platform.
While he hinted that the company would wait to take on the fresh grocery market in the country, it is thought that Amazon will immediately seek to gain a wider retail market share but offering discounted prices.
In terms of real estate, Amazon has a nine-storey office in Sydney’s financial district and said in August it had chosen a site in Melbourne to house a distribution warehouse. The east coast is undoubtedly a focal point for the company, unsurprising given around 80% of Australians are settled there.
Amazon looks set to shake up the ecommerce space in Australia, a sector which is still relatively untapped given the disparity of populations and sheer land mass to navigate.
Speaking in an interview with Business Review Australia, to be published in January, Mastercard Australia’s Senior Vice President of Core and Digital Products Matt Barr said: “Amazon is a formidable ecommerce power and has been so successful because it has focused on solving problems for the consumer, and a lot of Australian retailers can learn from that experience.
“Competition is certainly a good thing, and we look forward to working with our customers and improving their ecommerce offerings as well.”
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
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.