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How Amazon Plans to Expand in Overseas Markets

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Apr. 17 2018, Updated 5:25 p.m. ET

Amazon Fuse team is leading talks with operators

Amazon (AMZN) may be quietly making deals with global mobile operators to expand its international market,Variety reported after reviewing documents and job postings by the company. A team dubbed Amazon Fuse is reportedly leading Amazon’s engagement with mobile operators in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Amazon’s discussions with global mobile operators have reportedly focused on expanding the market for products such as Echo smart speaker and media services such as Prime Video and Prime Music.

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Fending off competition in smart speaker market

Amazon is not new to partnering with mobile operators. Last year, the company partnered with Vodafone’s (VOD) Indian unit to extend Prime discounts to Vodafone subscribers. Prime membership packages include free media services such as Prime Video and free shipping of goods from Amazon’s website. The deal with Vodafone ended up making Prime Video cheaper than Netflix (NFLX) for millions of Indian consumers.

With hardware products like Echo and Kindle, Amazon is reportedly exploring a model where mobile operators would be able to sell the devices in their stores. As for Echo in particular, Amazon could be trying to partner with mobile operators to fend off competition from Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google. Investment research firm Loup Ventures said in February that Google could overtake Amazon as the world’s top smart speaker vendor for the next four years. Baidu (BIDU) and Alibaba (BABA) also have created products that rival Amazon Echo.

International loss more than doubled

Investors are welcoming deals to expand Amazon’s overseas markets. The company has been losing money through its international segment. In 2017, Amazon’s international operating loss more than doubled to $3.1 billion, while revenue only increased 23.4%.

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