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Amazon could be landing in South Korea soon

Amazon's Korean expansion is expected to open for business by mid-March, according to reports.


Online retail giant Amazon could be opening branch offices in Korea as early as next month, South Korean daily Donga News reports.

The move into South Korea is expected to have a significant impact on the local market, especially against established brands such as local online auction and shopping site Gmarket.

Amazon is busily hiring employees who have experience with Korea's online retail business, according to local reports, with an estimated 300 open positions that need to be filled. The positions are mostly IT-related, so the chances of Amazon stocking a warehouse filled with goods are low. It's more likely the Kindle, which has never been available in Korea, will be the first launch product.

First-round interviews have reportedly been conducted over the last week and a three-day period of candidate evaluations will take place beginning on February 25.

Amazon's US careers website also lists several positions located in Seoul, the South Korean capital. The company has rented a 3,200-square-meter office space in the city's Gangnam area up to February 2024, according to local site Dailian News.

eBay Korea is the established market leader with roughly 63 percent market share, having acquired Korean online retailers Gmarket and Auction aas long ago as 2001.

Rumours have been circulating for for several months that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is preparing to enter the Korean market. Despite these reports, the company has mainly focused on partnering with Korean manufacturers to serve its Chinese customer base through Tmall, the online shopping mall owned by Alibaba.

Should the Chinese e-commerce giant decide to enter South Korea with Tmall though, it would offer formidable competition for Amazon and eBay. The company's wide distribution channels in China would likely allow it to offer customers goods that are significantly cheaper.

CNET has reached out to Amazon for comment.