Amazon to launch e-commerce marketplace in South Africa: report plans to expand to launch online shopping services in South Africa and four other countries by early 2023, Business Insider reported, citing leaked documents.

The move could signify bad news for local online retailers, including the leading South Africa online shopping player, the Naspers-owned Takealot Group.

The five markets that Amazon will expand to over the next year are South Africa, Nigeria, Belgium, Chile and Colombia, Business Insider said, citing internal Amazon documents it obtained.

The South African launch, reportedly codenamed Project Fela (which it shares with Nigeria), is expected in February 2023, the publication said, citing an internal timeline. The Nigeria launch is reportedly planned for April 2023. The Business Insider report is unavailable from South Africa without a VPN and is behind a paywall.

South Africans will also reportedly get access to Amazon’s Prime membership programme soon after launch of Amazon online shopping.

Amazon has long had a presence in South Africa through its cloud services business, Amazon Web Services. In fact, a portion of AWS’s cloud offering was originally developed in Cape Town and the city is still host to a large (and growing) software development centre.

The company has also invested significantly in data centre infrastructure in the country, opening a data centre region in Cape Town in 2020. The company has also identified a new head office for South Africa, but the development is the subject of a protracted legal dispute between the developer and members of the local community.  — (c) 2022 NewsCentral Media

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