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Amazon announced earlier today that it plans to create 100,000 new jobs in the country over the next 18 months. The company says that jobs will be available calling for a wide spread of education and experience levels. Once those 100,000 jobs are added, Amazon’s US workforce will sit at 280,000, a 56 percent increase over 2016's number. The announcement of intent to greatly expand the company’s workforce doesn’t come as a major surprise, as recently announced new warehouses in a number of states will need major staffing. (CNET notes that the move is “tailor-made” to jibe with the incoming Trump administration’s focus on job creation.) – CNET
Amazon Prime’s newest benefit for members is a Prime credit card which offers, among other perks, a 5% discount on all Amazon purchases. The new card, a Visa issued in partnership with JP Morgan Chase & Co, carries no annual fee as it will come included as part of the Prime membership package. Further, the credit card comes with a $70 Amazon gift card, almost enough to pay for a $99 Prime membership to begin with. The card will also be available to non-members, but they will only receive a 3% discount on Amazon purchases. In a move Forbes sees as a challenge to American Express, the card itself will be made of metal, like AmEx’s slick Centurion Card. – FORBES
Anime Strike is the first of the subscription-based Amazon Channels that the company has self-generated. The existing offerings under the Amazon Channels service have been for outside content from providers like Showtime and HBO. The ad-free Anime Strike channel will offer a library of anime classics and new releases, with weekly content updates. Amazon is introducing the channel via a week-long free trial for Prime members. The service will cost subscribers $4.99 per month after the end of the trial. – TC
Noted technology investor Chamath Palihapitiya says Amazon is the most important and “best” company on the planet. The former Facebook executive is so convinced of the company’s general superiority, he says he dumped his Facebook stock in favor of investing in Amazon. At Wednesday’s Insights Innovations Summit in California, Palihapitiya said, “There’s a handful of exceptionally good companies but there’s always one company that’s the best. (Amazon) does something that is just so fundamentally utilitarian and does it incrementally better every day.” – CNBC
India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has lashed out at Amazon for selling doormats featuring the design of the Indian flag on its Canada site. In a series of tweets, Swaraj (who has a large Twitter following) demanded an unconditional apology, threatening to withhold issuing any Visas to visiting Amazon officials and repeal existing ones. In a matter of hours, Amazon pulled the third-party seller item and issued an apology. The timing of the incident couldn’t be worse, as Amazon has been actively trying to foster a stronger presence in India. – LAT
Amazon will pay a $1 million fine to Canadian regulators for misrepresenting the amount of customer savings on certain items. The fine comes after a two-year investigation of Amazon's business practices in Canada. At the heart of the issue is Amazon's quoting of list prices to underline their sale prices. Canadian business regulators say that the list prices provided to Amazon by suppliers were not thoroughly vetted and did not fairly represent accurate market prices. (Amazon has recently begun quietly phasing out quoting list prices on its shopping sites.) – MASHABLE
Amazon's one-day marketing stunt in the UK, changing the signs at London's Westminster underground station to read "Webminster," has drawn the ire of some of the country's lawmakers. Amazon paid a London underground operating firm nearly $500,000 to run the ad campaign for Amazon Web Services. Some Members of Parliament (MPs), which is located near the Westminster station, have publicly complained that the campaign was in poor taste in light of lawmakers' oft-stated criticism of Amazon's tax practices. Labour party MP Nick Smith said Amazon was "being a bit cheeky here." – REUTERS
FROM THE MAILBAG
Reader Jeremy kindly dropped us a line, with a question about a potential Amazon distribution center in Australia:
"I'd love to hear some expert input on what the effect will be on businesses in Australia if they open distribution centre this year. I posted a question on Quora but have gotten no good detailed replies yet. What was the experience of businesses in the U.K. and USA as Amazon took over ecommerce distribution?"
We tossed the question to our resident Amazon expert William Tjernlund, who had this to say:
"I consulted for an Australian business a couple of years ago, and they warned me that If Amazon ever made a large push into Australia that it would be met with major resistance. The local economy is held very dearly by many Australians, and Amazon looks like a disrupter.
A top US retail analyst says that when Amazon comes to Australia, we can expect some second tier shopping centers to become 'white elephants,' as commercial property falls,' according to The Financial Review.
Though most of the press about Amazon coming to Australia seems to be negative, I do believe there will be a lot of unforeseen benefits. Many of these brick and mortar retailers will end up supplementing their income by selling on Amazon as a 3rd Party seller. Many brick and mortar retailers will now have a new logistics arm added to their business model and will be able to expand their customer base in ways they never thought possible."
Do you have any questions about Amazon that you would like us to have William address? Hit REPLY and let us know, we love to hear from our readers.