Amazon opens Thai office, eyeing growth
Amazon, the largest e-commerce company in the world, recently opened a new office in Thailand, its second office in Asean after the flagship in Singapore, as it expands operations in the country to provide resources and training to Thai merchants selling products overseas on the platform.
The company does not have full purchasing services available yet to Thai customers. This service is only available in 18 countries.
Amazon could not comment on whether it plans to offer a full store in Thailand. Currently, Thais can only ship in products from overseas through the Amazon store.
Singapore has a full Amazon store, including Amazon Prime and a two-hour delivery service, signalling the company's interest in the Asean region.
Amazon incorporated as an entity in Thailand under the name Amazon Web Services.
"Our focus is on helping Thai sellers expand to global markets," said Bernard Tay, director of Amazon global selling in Southeast Asia. "We are just starting to build our team and getting the new office set up. We see potential for Thai sellers to do well in the US market and Japan, although we currently have a low base of sellers."
In Amazon's office on Phetchaburi Road, the company is offering training services to e-commerce merchants on how to use the platform and attract overseas customers.
Mr Tay said some Thai companies that are already using Amazon's platform to sell products, like PJ Wood, a wooden furniture manufacturer, credit Amazon for increasing their online business by 150% in two years.
On the Amazon platform, sellers can either ship directly to overseas buyers or work with a third-party service provider network that Amazon is currently developing in the country, which would help with shipping and international payments. The company hopes this network will help standardise shipping prices overseas.
Eventually Amazon wants to develop its own in-house logistics operation, becoming a "one-stop solution provider for sellers in Thailand".
"There is a lack of awareness about global selling, and sellers don't know how to expand beyond Thailand," Mr Tay said.
Some 58% of Amazon's sales come from third-party merchants based in 130 different countries.
The global cross-border e-commerce market accounted for 24% of the total e-commerce market in 2018 and is expected to grow to 29% by 2020, according to Accenture.
"Thailand is coming up to be a leading manufacturing base," Mr Tay said. "There are initiatives from the government to help across the board with the country's e-commerce development."