Amazon Keeps Tight-Lipped on Europe

[June 9] Top executives at
Amazon.com
increased speculation Friday by refusing
to say whether the next Amazon site currently
being prepared in Europe is for France, Spain
or Italy.


Diego Piacentini, Amazon’s head of international
operations, said that Spain was “a huge opportunity,”
an opinion confirmed by Chief Operating Joseph Galli
who said Amazon would be trying to crack the
Latin American market, having begun sales of
Spanish-language books from its main site.


Meanwhile, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos appeared on
British TV Thursday night, defending his company’s
decision to postpone profits in order to expand
into other sectors of e-commerce.


Amazon already has two European sites, at
Amazon.co.uk
and Amazon.de.
Most observers had been expecting the next one
to be in France, but Spain now looks like a
more likely contender.


In an interview with CNBC Europe, Galli would
not be drawn on which country had been selected,
saying that Amazon would only disclose its identity
when the site is complete.


Galli confirmed that Amazon has registered a huge
number of international Web addresses (URLs) in
preparation for its global roll-out.


Recently, European management consultancy
Roland Berger
warned U.S. companies that the traditional
country-by-country approach in Europe would not
work. It strongly recommended rolling out the
business in waves, such as U.K., Germany, and
France simultaneously. If Amazon is heeding
the advice it will be working on more than
one additional European site.


Amazon, which makes a profit on selling books
in the United States, also sells CDs, videos,
electronics and other goods. It runs its U.K.
operation at a loss, despite having 1.4 million
customers and sales of £28 million
($42 million) in the first quarter of 2000.

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