Amazon Air opens first European hub in Germany
Amazon Air, the in-house cargo airline of the online retailer, has opened its first regional air hub in Europe, shifting shipments away from DHL, FedEx and UPS. Amazon Air has begun flying to New Orleans as it rapidly creates a network of airports in order to meet increasing customer expectations for faster order delivery.
The air cargo base in Leipzig, Germany enables Amazon to eventually challenge other express carriers such as DHL, FedEx and UPS for market share, which comes at a time when global ecommerce sales are surging, as consumers prefer to shop online rather than in-store during the pandemic. The Leipzig/Halle Airport is also home to DHL’s main European operation.
Packages from Amazon fulfillment centers in Leipzig and elsewhere in Europe will flow through the 20,000 square meter cargo facility in order to speed up delivery for Prime members around the continent. The hub will allow Amazon to eliminate the need for third-party parcel carriers and provide more flexible delivery options at a lower price.
The two new Boeing 737-800 aircraft puts Amazon Air on track to have more than 70 aircraft in its fleet by the end of 2020, which comes at a time when they plan to expand air operations internationally. Meanwhile, daily cargo services have commenced at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, which is considered a gateway in Amazon’s network that connects to other points or larger hubs. So far this year Amazon has opened two gateways in Hawaii and Texas and regional air hubs in Florida and California which is due to open early next year. The company are also building a $1.5 billion national hub in Kentucky for next year, where it currently shares space with DHL Express. The addition to three hubs in one year will significantly increase Amazon’s ability to move more freight.
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Samsung expected to launch Galaxy S smartphone early amid rising Apple and Huawei competition
Samsung may launch its flagship Galaxy S smartphones more than a month earlier than expected, in a bid to take some of the market share from Huawei and beat competition from Apple.
Chinese rival Huawei has challenged Samsung’s top position in the global smartphone market, but they are now battling against US restrictions on its supplies of chips used in smartphones and telecom equipment. South Korean chip industry officials hope that Joe Biden’s presidency might ease some of those restrictions. However, there is uncertainty as it is also expected that the incoming US administration will maintain a tough stance on China.
Samsung is preparing the launch of its new Galaxy S21 for early January 2021, whereas it had previously launched its flagship S20 phone in early March 2020. The electronic company lost its no. 1 position to Huawei in the second quarter, but has since regained first position in the third quarter, partly due to US restrictions on Chinese rival Huawei.
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Alibaba and Richemont put $1.1 billion into Farfetch
A global strategic partnership has been struck between Alibaba, Farfetch and Swiss luxury house Richemont, which includes the establishment of Farfetch shopping channels on Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion, Luxury Soho and cross-border marketplace Tmall Global.
Alibaba and Richemont are to invest $300 million each in Farfetch and $250 million in the newly-formed entity Farfetch China joint venture, with both exploring additional opportunities to work closely with Farfetch.
Farfetch and Alibaba are also forming a steering group which includes Richemont chair Johann Rupert and Kering CEO and Artemis chairman François-Henri Pinault.
The luxury market was leaning heavily on Chinese consumers even before the pandemic. Spending by Chinese shoppers accounts for 33% of the global luxury market. Luxury goods in 2019 saw 20% growth in China for the second year in a row.
While China tries to return many aspects of normal daily life amid the pandemic and making ecommerce less crucial for retailers, shoppers are used to buying online in all categories. But upscale brands face continued challenges due to the pandemic, especially as Europe and the United States are battling with new waves of the virus.
Luxury in general has been rather slow to embrace digital sales, but it will remain critical for as long as the pandemic remains and most likely after, as consumers change their habits.
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