Business Essentials for Professionals


India And Japan are the markets that Amazon Launches Echo And Alexa In Asia

India And Japan are the markets that Amazon Launches Echo And Alexa In Asia
Marking its first foray into Asia with its products Echo speaker and Alexa smart personal assistant, Amazon is bringing them to India and Japan, the company said on Wednesday.
Alexa and Echo are scheduled to come to Japan later this year while the products are now available by invitation in India, the U.S. e-commerce giant said.
With Amazon's artificial intelligence (AI) personal assistant Alexa built in those products, Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus are voice-controlled speakers. Tasks such playing music or setting reminders are allowed to be carried out by the users through the use of voice commands.
While Alexa and Echo will be available in Japan later this year, those devices will start shipping in India later this month.
Questions about whether the devices would be able to understand Hindi and Japanese, or whether users will need to speak in English is yet not clear. There has also not been any clarification available from Amazon.
Ever it was first launched in the U.S. in 2014, Amazon has been slowly expanding its Echo product range to other countries. For example, marking its first foray into the European market, the U.S. company brought the Echo to Germany and the U.K. in 2016.
Different versions of the Echo, such as the Echo Show, which has a touchscreen, were subsequently launched in those markets. All of these are powered by Alexa.
Japan and India mark Amazon's first foray into Asia with the Alexa and Echo products.
In order to allow people to create apps to India and Japan to create "localized Alexa experiences", the company is bringing its developer tools to these countries, Tom Taylor, senior vice president of Amazon Alexa, said.
Amazon faces stiff competition from Google Home and Apple Homepod as the smart speaker market is getting increasingly crowded. a new version of its smart speaker product is rumored of being developed by Alphabet-owned Google.
For Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, India has been a big focus. The company would invest $3 billion in the country, last year it said. And as part of its Prime service in India, Amazon's original content team has been focusing on localized TV shows.
"We're grateful that customers are responding — is the most visited and the fastest growing marketplace in India," Bezos said after the company’s first quarter earnings in April.
"It's still day one for e-commerce in India, and I assure you that we'll keep investing in technology and infrastructure while working hard to invent on behalf of our customers and small and medium businesses in India."

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc