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It's official: Amazon is coming to Australia

The retail giant and instant gratification powerhouse has confirmed it will be launching down under. Gird your wallets.


Alexa, is Amazon coming to Australia?

You'd better believe it.

The global retail giant has confirmed it will be making its way to Australian shores, making good on months of speculation and and hot takes from Australian media outlets.

And because one of the world's biggest companies likes to keep things low-key (despite CEO Jeff Bezos' recent attempts to dress like a giant robot), Amazon isn't giving us much to go off. The company has confirmed that it is in the planning stage, but that's about it.

"Amazon Web Services launched an Australian region in 2012, we launched a Kindle Store on in 2013, and we now have almost 1,000 employees in the country," the company said in a statement. "The next step is to bring a retail offering to Australia, and we are making those plans now."

Amazon isn't a total newcomer to the Aussie market, with the Kindle, Amazon Web Services cloud hosting and Audible e-book brands well-established on local shores. But there's no doubt Amazon has been getting busier Down Under.

The company started competing with streaming services Netflix and Stan with the recent Australian launch of Amazon Prime Video, bringing Top Gear redux "The Grand Tour" to Aussie fans. The company has also been on a hiring spree in recent months, looking to fill more than 100 jobs -- including in its grocery delivery division, Amazon Fresh.

But it's still not clear what Amazon's local presence will look like in a year's time.

One of the big questions is whether Australia will get the Amazon Echo from launch. The smart speaker -- known for its Siri-like voice command feature, Alexa -- can be used to set timers, convert measurements and answer trivia questions.

But Alexa also relies on a bunch of other services, including Amazon tie-ins, to work at its best. In fact, the full list of Alexa commands is giddying.

You can ask Alexa to order items from Amazon's online store or play tunes from Amazon Music -- features that require those Amazon services to actually be established in Australia.

In the US, Amazon has also partnered with companies like Uber and Domino's to allow you to order rides and pizza using Alexa. It also pairs with many Internet of Things devices (the collective name for connected devices that talk to each other) that aren't available locally.

No doubt, Amazon will be spending the coming months setting up those kinds of partnerships in Australia so local Echo owners can eventually get those features out here too.

The Amazon Echo speaker uses Amazon's smart assistant, Alexa.

James Martin/CNET

That expansion is set to continue, with the company talking up its investment in the Australian market.

"We are excited to bring thousands of new jobs to Australia, millions of dollars in additional investment, and to empower small Australian businesses through Amazon Marketplace," the statement continued. "We are optimistic that by focusing on the things we believe customers value most -- low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery -- over time we'll earn the business of Australian customers."

There's no word yet on what a local Amazon will mean for Australian shoppers, and whether Amazon's complete offering (including services Amazon Prime, with its sweet perks like two-day shipping) will launch on Aussie shores.

But one thing is for sure -- Aussie retailers are on notice.

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