Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Apr 21): Amazon Targets South Korea, German Online Returns Surge

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Apr 21): Amazon Targets South Korea, German Online Returns Surge

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Amazon Eyes South Korea

Amid fierce competition in South Korea’s e-commerce sector, Amazon has introduced free shipping services targeted at the overseas direct purchase market for Korean consumers. Starting April 17, this perk is available through the Amazon app and website for orders of nearly 70,000 KRW (approximately $49) that are shipped within Korea, though only on eligible items. This initiative is part of a broader global promotional strategy by Amazon, periodically offering free shipping across various countries to counter the growing influence of Chinese cross-border e-commerce platforms like Temu and Shein, which have been making inroads into the U.S. market.

TikTok Trials New Features

TikTok is currently piloting a new application called TikTok Notes in select markets including Canada and Australia, though it has not yet been introduced in the U.S. market. This experimental app allows users to combine text and photos to share updates and moments from their daily lives, directly linked to their existing TikTok accounts. The user interface of TikTok Notes bears a striking resemblance to Instagram, featuring a clean, scrollable layout where users can easily view multiple posts.

This strategic move could position TikTok Notes as a formidable competitor to Instagram, especially given TikTok’s expansion and highly engaged global user base. With this initiative, TikTok is exploring the potential to enhance user interaction by diversifying the types of content people can create and share, possibly increasing the time users spend on the platform.

Naver Enhances Delivery Options in South Korea

Naver has expanded its “Naver Guaranteed Arrival” service to include same-day and Sunday deliveries, aimed at boosting its market share through enhanced delivery capabilities. Launched on April 15, orders placed before 11 AM are guaranteed same-day delivery in the capital regions like Seoul, with plans to expand to other cities next year. The service now includes essential daily goods and fashion items, with half expected to be delivered the same day. From May 22, Naver will also offer a “Return Safety Care” insurance service to compensate sellers for the cost of free returns and exchanges.

German Online Shopping Returns

In Germany, the return rate for online purchases stands at 11%, with younger consumers more likely to return items. A survey by the German Digital Association Bitkom indicates that 15% of consumers aged 17 to 29 return purchases, compared to 13% for those aged 30 to 49. Reasons for returns include inappropriate product sizes (nearly 70%), damaged or defective items (over 55%), and dissatisfaction with the product not matching online descriptions or images (41%). On average, a return costs sellers between 5 to 10 euros, highlighting the potential for AI-based shopping assistants to reduce return rates by helping consumers select the right products.

Zalando Questions EU Fee Calculations

German fashion e-commerce giant Zalando has challenged the European Commission over the calculation of regulatory fees under the Digital Services Act (DSA), which demands annual fees from large online platforms based on global net revenue. Zalando’s legal concerns focus on the lack of transparency and fairness in fee assessments, which are partly determined by monthly active user counts. This challenge follows similar legal actions by TikTok and Meta against the EU Commission’s criteria under the DSA.

ASOS Faces Downturn

ASOS, the British online fashion giant, recorded an 18% drop in turnover to 1.7 billion euros during the first half of its fiscal year, a decline partly attributed to shoppers returning to physical stores and the rise of competitors like Shein. To counteract these challenges, ASOS has initiated a strategic overhaul named “Back to Fashion.” This strategy focuses on streamlining product offerings, enhancing customer engagement, and reducing operational costs. Despite the downturn, ASOS achieved its best first-half cash performance since 2017 by right-sizing its stock ahead of target, demonstrating a robust response to operational challenges.


Meta Introduces AI Across Platforms

Meta has integrated a new AI chatbot feature across its major platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. This rollout introduces a conversational chat window where users can engage in discussions, ask questions, and create AI-generated images, mirroring functionalities found in other AI chatbots like ChatGPT. The AI chatbot represents a strategic shift for Meta as it seeks to innovate user interaction within its platforms, moving towards more automated and AI-driven content generation. This move is part of Meta’s broader strategy to maintain user engagement in an evolving digital landscape.

Nvidia and Georgia Tech’s AI Venture

Nvidia has teamed up with Georgia Tech to establish the AI Makerspace, a supercomputing facility dedicated to student use. This collaboration aims to democratize access to high-end AI resources, previously available only to researchers, by providing a cluster of 20 Nvidia HGX H100 units housing 160 GPUs. This setup will enable a wide range of AI and machine learning projects, significantly enhancing the computational power available to undergraduate students. The initiative underscores the growing importance of practical, hands-on experience in AI education.

Oracle’s Major Investment in Japan

Oracle’s ambitious plan to invest more than $8 billion over the next decade in Japan focuses on expanding its AI and cloud computing capabilities. The investment aims to broaden the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to support increasing demand and assist Japanese companies with their digital sovereignty, ensuring that data remains within the country. The initiative will also expand Oracle Alloy, allowing local entities to host cloud services independently, thus reinforcing Japan’s digital autonomy in the face of global tech challenges.

Andreessen Horowitz’s AI Funding

Andreessen Horowitz, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has raised a massive $7.2 billion to fuel investments primarily in the AI sector. This includes specific allocations like $1 billion for an AI apps fund and $1.25 billion for an AI infrastructure fund, highlighting the firm’s deep commitment to nurturing the growth of AI technologies. The raised funds will support ventures across various stages of growth, with a significant portion earmarked for late-stage funding. This investment strategy indicates a strong belief in AI’s potential to drive future technological innovations.

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