The Chinese division of U.S.-based online retailer Amazon has recently launched a large-scale recruitment drive in several domestic cities, sparking market speculation that Amazon may expand its business in the Chinese mainland.
According to recruitment listings posted by amazon.cn on its LinkedIn page in recent days, Amazon has up to 967 positions open in cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, North China's Tianjin, and Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, and about 90 of those positions have been posted since September 4.
The Global Times observed that Amazon's open positions ranged from software development engineers to program managers and service delivery managers.
The postings have aroused market speculation that Amazon has plans to expand its business in the Chinese market. Amazon didn't respond to an interview request from the Global Times on Tuesday.
Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent Internet analyst, said that he's pessimistic about Amazon's prospects in the Chinese market.
"In the domestic e-commerce sector, the sooner a site was established the better, because a company could have time to nurture customers and get rid of the bugs in its operations," Liu told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"For Amazon, it's a bit late," Liu said, adding given the fierce competition from domestic e-commerce platforms, it's very hard to make a decisive turn for the better.
Amazon.cn was set up in 2007. In comparison, taobao.com was set up in 2003. The data of amazon.cn's performance in China is not available.
Besides, Liu noted that Amazon's logistics services lag far behind those of competitors such as JD.com Inc and taobao.com.
"Overseas customers are used to slow delivery, but Chinese customers can't stand it. They have been 'spoiled' by the fast delivery services provided by websites like JD," Liu noted.
A Shanghai-based resident surnamed Zhou said that she used to buy books on amazon.cn because she believed they were authentic, but she eventually turned to domestic websites like dangdang.com because of Amazon's slow delivery services, she told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"It takes about three days nowadays to get their products. It's too slow," Zhou said.
Amazon only accounted for about 0.8 percent of China's e-commerce retail market in 2016, compared with 56.6 percent for tmall.com and 24.7 percent for JD.com, the Business Insider reported in February.
But Liu said that while it's improbable that amazon.cn can beat domestic e-commerce giants like taobao.com, it can still have a share of the Chinese market.
"One of amazon.cn's advantages is its big data and cloud service technologies, which can help companies save labor costs. I think it can tap the potential of the domestic market in those areas," he told the Global Times.