Amazon launches Prime Now services in Singapore

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Now available for a limited time to customers without a Prime membership, Amazon said the membership programme would "soon" be launched in Singapore with additional benefits for subscribers.

With Amazon's own aggressive expansion strategy now in play, the battle of the e-commerce giants in Asia is in full swing.

Prime Now allows online shoppers in the affluent city-state of five million people to order a wide range of items from baby products to food, electronics items and beer.

Henry Low, the Asia Pacific director of Amazon Prime Now, said that the company is eager to expand elsewhere in Southeast Asian region, a market of more than 600 million population.

Deliveries will take place between 10am and 10pm daily. While it was not labeled Amazon, the distinctive smiley arrow said it all. - TODAY picWhile Amazon does deliver to Singapore, higher-end services had not been available, such as Prime services which include access to the company's video-streaming service.

Amazon already has a significant presence in India and Japan but analysts say that South East Asia represents one of the biggest battlegrounds for e-commerce firms.

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Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said at the launch that while digital technologies are disrupting value chains across industries, the digital economy has potential to bring about enormous opportunities, particularly in Asia, with its emerging middle class and rapid urbanisation. It's the first time the service has been offered on debut in a new market.

Shen noted that Amazon's innovation in products such as Echo could be its differentiator since no other e-commerce players had similar offerings.

Frost forecasts online product sales in southeast Asia to grow to $71 billion by 2021 from $16 billion in 2016.

Amazon's foray into the South-East Asian market has been long anticipated, with fellow e-commerce giant Alibaba dominating the market.

"With a timed-window, same-day delivery, it's also a good experiment to test out Amazon's operations in the region", he added.