Could Amazon's Malaysia Appstore herald the Amazon Fire Phone's arrival?

The Appstore might be Amazon’s first step to fuel the gadget shopping frenzy in Malaysia

Amazon’s reach is creeping beyond just the US these days – the electronics online retailer’s recently announced the expansion of its Appstore for Android apps to 41 other countries. Malaysia happens to be one of them, bringing its global presence to 236 countries and territories.

Amazon has been quoted to say this move has enabled it to reach customers across the world, including those in previously inaccessible countries.

But, because of the fact that not all apps will get the seal of approval to be published in all 41 countries as a result of local restrictions, it presents an opportunity for Amazon developers to step up and target new areas worldwide.

IDC Asia-Pacific consumer mobility, gaming, and advertising associate director, Shiv Putcha, said the positive is that the primary purpose of the local app stores will open up the Amazon catalog, in particular the books segment. The other purpose, he said, is to make transactions possible in local currencies and support popular local payment options.

However, he thinks that local developers will not come forth to create apps for the platform, in the short-term at least.

“I don't think the platform has enough scale at this point to entice local developers. The other factor here is the relative maturity of the local e-commerce ecosystem. The more fragmented and challenging the ecosystem, the less incentive there will be for local developers,” he said. 

First the apps, next the devices?

But there’s a bigger underlying issue that’s not been mentioned. There isn’t any cause to go to Amazon’s Appstore unless you own an Amazon Kindle, Fire phone or any of its other mobile devices.

Since Amazon needs consumers to buy their devices first to drive this app segment, this could lead to the company bringing in its mobile range into Malaysia.

“The timing of the launch may vary and so will the specific products introduced into each market. I do believe that Malaysia at least will see the launch of the Amazon smartphone, given its high smartphone and LTE penetration,” Putcha mentioned.

Needless to say, that’s what many of the locals want too.

Muhammad Bilal Kader has been hoping the Amazon Fire smartphone comes to Malaysia since its launch. He said the mobile is built for the typical Malaysian as it can be used with one hand – its simple tilt to scroll and gestures apparently make it one of a kind.

“I use my phone a lot when I travel and nowadays, public transportation is crowded. So the Amazon Fire phone is good for standing in a crowded train and being on your mobile with just one hand,” he said.

More after the break...

Lots of potential

In addition, he says he likes some of its fanciest features, such as the Firefly SDK, which lets people retrieve information more easily, and the dynamic perspective screen, which will be the envy of many if it’s brought to Singapore.

Games and gadgets retailer Qisahn, which is present in Singapore and Malaysia, is one of the few online retailers that carries Amazon's e-book reader, the Kindle Paperwhite, on its site. However, Qisahn stated that there haven’t been much requests for the smartphone, but didn't confirm if it'll re-consider importing the Fire phone with the Appstore's availability here.

At this stage, we're not rulling out the possibility of other parallel importers making this move in the near future. But one thing’s for sure; Amazon's expansion into new countries will have a direct impact on its e-commerce revenues.

“With more consumers across more countries, its addressable market is greatly increased. This international expansion will also obviously expand their addressable market for digital goods and content,” Putcha added.

READ MORE: Amazon Fire Phone vs Apple iPhone 5S: the weigh-in

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