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Amazon steps into Aussie retail jungle with a hiring spree

Amazon is finally showing signs of life in Australia, kicking off a hiring spree and quietly announcing grocery service AmazonFresh will be available Down Under.

James Martin/CNET

Amazon has kicked off a hiring spree in Australia, and at the risk of crying wolf, the e-commerce giant's long-awaited Australian expansion is on the cards for 2017. With over 100 jobs currently being advertised, the false alarms might finally be over -- but Amazon's picking its battles carefully.

While most of the Sydney-based roles are with unnamed branches of the company, the Brisbane-based listings mention AmazonFresh, the first official confirmation that it would be bringing the grocery store arm to Australia. AmazonFresh listings say the local launch will "revolutionise the grocery shopping experience".

If the local version is anything like the American version, you'll be able to order groceries online at 10 a.m., with your order arriving "by dinner," while orders placed later in the day can arrive as early as the next morning. There's no word as to local pricing, but in the US you're looking at free delivery on orders over $35 (around AU$45). You'll get to trial the service for free for 90 days, but after that it's a yearly subscription of $300 (around AU$400), which includes a subscription to Amazon Prime -- also not yet in Australia.

Amazon's more traditional product offerings could also find a local home in Australia, with the company allegedly seeking warehouse space in Sydney. The logistics, training and IT roles listed for Sydney would seem to point to aggressive expansion on that front. Currently, shopping on Amazon means weighing the low prices with long delivery times. A distribution centre on Aussie shores removes the wait from the equation.

Current Australian operations are fairly limited to its Web Services branch and a local launch of the Amazon Prime video streaming service, but the spectre of a full launch has long hung over the heads of Aussie retailers. Amazon's discounted pricing has made it the biggest online retailer in the world and the 10th biggest retailer by revenue. Amazon will be seeking to undercut local retail pricing by as much as 30 percent, Business Insider reports. Coupled with local distribution facilities and speedy delivery, the numbers don't lie and they spell disaster for Aussie retailers.

Amazon did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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