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Speech by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the Opening of Amazon Singapore's Corporate Office

Speech by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the Opening of Amazon Singapore's Corporate Office

Mr Henry Low, Country Manager of Amazon Singapore and Director of Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Pte Ltd,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Opening

1. Good afternoon to all of you. It is indeed a pleasure to join you here today at the official opening of Amazon Singapore’s new corporate office.

2. Amazon needs no introduction. It is not only one of the largest technology companies in the world, but also a global household name.

3. Founder and Executive Chair Mr Jeff Bezos had the vision and desire to transform a bookstore into an “Everything Store”. This is indeed what Amazon has become today. Even before Amazon established a presence in Singapore, it has been one of the go-to sites to purchase anything we need.

4. It is testament to Amazon’s vision, ambition, and culture of innovation that the company has grown from a simple bookstore to a global business that spans e-commerce, cloud services, media streaming and voice-assistant devices.

Amazon is a committed investor in Singapore

5. Today marks another milestone in Amazon’s journey of success, and I am happy that it takes place here in Singapore.

6. Singapore is home to many multinational companies which have set up their regional bases here to expand their business, develop new products, and access the growing markets of Southeast Asia. In particular, an increasing number of global technology companies are recognising the growing demand for both consumer and corporate digital services in this region, and setting up their regional headquarters in Singapore.

7. Amazon has been an investor in Singapore since 2010, and Singapore was Amazon’s first presence in Southeast Asia.

8. Since establishing its regional headquarters, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Amazon Consumer Business (ACB) in Singapore, Amazon has expanded significantly and successfully launched a suite of consumer services.

a. In 2017, Amazon established its Amazon Prime Now facility in Singapore. It has since expanded to two fulfilment centres and a last mile delivery centre, with a larger selection of products to meet the burgeoning demand for its e-commerce goods.

b. In 2019, Amazon launched Amazon.sg so that Singapore consumers can access a wider range of local and international products.

c. Other business units, such as Audible, Amazon’s audiobook and podcast service, and Twitch, a livestreaming platform for gamers, have also sited their regional headquarters in Singapore.

Amazon has been a key partner in supporting local businesses

9. Amazon has been a key partner in supporting the local business community and helping to grow Singapore’s ecosystem.

10. Besides providing a platform for local companies to retail their products, Amazon has availed various tools and services such as Fulfilment by Amazon, listing tools, reports and analytics to help local sellers expand their consumer reach.

a. An example is Oddbods, a children’s television series by Singapore-based studio, One Animation. Oddbods has leveraged different Amazon channels to grow their IP and sell their products. The show is now offered on Amazon Prime Video, while its plush toys and books are sold on Amazon’s marketplaces. Oddbods also subscribes to Fulfilment by Amazon, which allows them to focus on their core work, while leaving Amazon to manage their inventory, warehousing, and fulfilment.

b. Other local companies such as Hook Coffee and Jomingo have managed to grow their sales through Amazon.sg. To support more of such entrepreneurs in taking their businesses online, Amazon held its inaugural Seller Boot Camp earlier this month. During the course, entrepreneurs learnt about topics such as logistics, tax, and brand protection.

11. This was especially important during COVID-19, as safe management measures and border restrictions forced businesses to move online and seek new ways to engage and serve their customers. I am grateful for Amazon’s close partnership in various government initiatives throughout the pandemic that has helped Singapore SMEs move towards digital enablement and e-commerce adoption.

a. In April 2020, Amazon collaborated with Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on its eCommerce Booster Package, which helps online retailers establish a digital presence by offering complimentary support and fee waivers as well as training workshops and digital tools.

i. A good example is Hegen, a Singaporean baby and maternity brand that offers multifunctional baby products. With the support of the eCommerce Booster Package, Hegen started to retail its products on Amazon.sg and has since expanded their presence to over 50 product listings. It has also seen steady revenue growth over the months and sold five times as many products during Amazon’s Prime Day 2021 campaign compared to a year ago.

b. Amazon has also helped our SMEs access new markets online. In January this year, Amazon partnered with ESG to support SMEs’ expansion overseas through the Market Readiness Assistance Scheme. Local enterprises could tap on a range of market expansion-related services and advisory support to develop their internationalisation plans.

Amazon has created job opportunities for Singaporeans

12. In addition to supporting our SMEs, Amazon has created many good job opportunities for Singaporeans in tech and non-tech roles within the technology sector. These include opportunities in cloud services, operations and logistics, and data engineering. Amazon currently employs approximately 2,000 workers across its various business units in Singapore, of which the majority are Singapore Citizens or PRs.

13. We also need to look no further than Mr Henry Low, who is here with us today, for examples of Singaporeans who have benefited from Amazon’s presence in Singapore. Mr Low has experience managing Amazon’s operations in the UK and Japan. He returned to Singapore to launch its on-demand shopping and delivery service in 2017. He now oversees the Amazon Consumer Business in Singapore, including Amazon.sg and Amazon Fresh. Mr Low is a good example of how Singaporeans can progress and take on leadership roles in a global multinational company like Amazon.

14. Amazon also supports talent development efforts to train and upskill workers to nurture a future-ready workforce. In June this year, Amazon Web Services launched their initiative, “CloudReady SG with AWS”, which comprises a range of skills, mentorship and job placement programmes, to help participants develop specific digital and cloud skillsets.

15. I am confident that more Singaporeans will benefit from these opportunities as Amazon continues to expand its operations in Singapore.

Closing

16. I want to congratulate Amazon Singapore on your new office, which is evidence of the company’s growth and success. We look forward to many more years of close partnership with Amazon – in supporting local businesses, creating job opportunities, and entrenching Singapore as a technology hub for world-class invention and innovation.

17. Thank you.

 

 

 

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