Amazon is shopping around for warehouse space in South Africa, leading to industry speculation that the company could be looking to enter the local e-commerce sector, according to a recent MyBroadband article.
Amazon did not respond to MyBroadband’s request for comment on the matter.
However, every year for the last 12 years, there have been rumours that Amazon is coming to South Africa based on incomplete information.
Where speculation was rife that Amazon was entering online retail in South Africa more than a decade ago, the company instead launched a local call centre to provide support for its products to customers worldwide.
In the event that Amazon did enter the local e-commerce space, it is expected to go one of two ways according to MyBroadband: they could acquire a local player; or enter the market directly.
Many South African e-commerce players are hoping for a buy-out offer from Amazon, as competing against the global retail giant is seen as a losing battle.
Amazon offers seamless importing for South African shoppers by estimating taxes and import duties for items it can ship to the country.
It provides a guarantee on this cost estimate. If taxes end up lower, Amazon repays you the difference. If taxes are higher than estimated, Amazon eats the loss.
A recent example where Amazon bought out a local player is Souk.com, which was the largest e-commerce platform in the Arabic-speaking world.
Amazon Egypt is the company’s only African retail presence so far. Amazon.co.za currently redirects to the main Amazon.com website.