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• The New York Times has a piece about how Amazon and Alibaba - which rarely have found themselves in direct competition in the past - currently have begun competing in Singapore and beyond: “Both are spending billions of dollars on Asia — particularly Southeast Asia and India — as they look for a place that could repeat China’s explosive transformation into the world’s biggest online shopping market.”

But, the story says, “Southeast Asia is no China. A diffuse area of 600 million people, the region is divided by politics, language and culture. Some places are modern, like Singapore. Other places lack the roads and other infrastructure to get people what they need.”

According to the Times, “Alibaba has a long lead over Amazon and is building up its infrastructure across Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, for example, it took a minority stake in August in another online marketplace, Tokopedia. Experts say Amazon could fight back by offering online Western movies and television programs as it does in the United States, which could increase its appeal with younger customers.

“Amazon stumbled in Singapore initially when the service proved too popular, forcing it to turn away customers. But since then the two companies have amped up their efforts to deliver more quickly to a growing group of customers.”

• The Baltimore Sun reports that Amazon’s Treasure Truck is coming to the city, offering “a new way to shop” for local and trending items … Customers who subscribe in Amazon’s app will get an alert notifying them of the day’s merchandise when the truck is ready to head out. Consumers can buy limited quantity items on a first-come, first-served basis. After placing an order, users select a pickup location and time slot to claim their items.”

The Amazon Treasure Truck concept was launched about a year and a half ago, and currently operates in 16 cities, with seven more cities scheduled to be added this month.
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