I got a heads up yesterday from a friend. His news was surprising to me. Well, it is something I keep hearing is “going to happen” but it never happens. Will it happen this time around? I hope so!
What might happen?
Amazon is apparently going to open in the Philippines! Yep, that is right, Amazon.com will set up local operations in the Philippines so that their products can be shipped locally, presumably from Manila or maybe on of the Free Trade Zones like Subic.
A second source confirmed that this is happening, he even said that he is attending a meeting soon (maybe today?) that deals with this business development.
Can foreign companies operate in the Philippines?
Well, not directly. For a retail business like this, they would need local partners, but that is already in place according to what I am told.
Furthermore, I am told that Amazon will partner for logistics and shipping with Giant Philippine shipping company, 2GO. Personally I have doubts that 2GO can delivery shipping on the schedule and reliability that Amazon would demand, but let’s hope they step up and make it a reality!
This could mean major change!
If this is all true, this could really shake up the market in the Philippines. It could cause great competition that would bring down prices in other stores in the Philippines. Competition here is not very “cut throat” if you know what I mean. I mostly see all of the stores charging very high prices for major commodities, and nobody seems to want to compete with lower prices. I am completely certain that Amazon would break that mold, and would force other Philippine retailers to become at least somewhat competitive.
Making eCommerce commonplace
Another effect, I believe, is that a lot more Filipinos would start using eCommerce. As it stands today, only a small percentage of Filipinos even attempt to spend money online, because they are scared they will be ripped off.
Another thing that could happen in this eCommerce area is that more Filipinos will get some kind of credit or debit cards so that they can purchase online. Right now, credit/debit card use in the Philippines is only a very tiny percentage of buyers… Cash is KING in the Philippines, but that could change a great deal. I believe that the average Filipino would be more likely to spend with a trusted name like Amazon being the company they are dealing with.
We shall see.
I know I would be a customer!