Apr 26, 2019

Amazon's flex pales against Chinese counterparts

An Amazon warehouse (left); a JD warehouse (right). Photos: Rick T. Wilking/Getty; Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty

Amazon's move to slash free delivery times in half for Prime members — from 2 days to 1 — will squeeze American retailers, who are already scrambling to match it. But the e-commerce behemoth is still miles behind its Chinese rivals.

Why it matters: As we reported from China last summer, JD.com is already delivering 90% of its packages within 24 hours. Even 85% of packages shipped from abroad get to customers' doorsteps in a day. Last year, Alibaba said it will offer same-day delivery to all of China. Amazon is just catching up.

The backdrop: Part of why JD.com has been able to offer fast shipping is its logistics network — unlike anyone else in China, it controls the whole delivery process from warehouse to front door, across the country, relying on no other companies. Amazon continues to lean on UPS and USPS, in addition to its own vans and trucks.

  • What's next: Look for Amazon to significantly build out its own fleet, says Griffin Carlborg, an analyst with Gartner L2.

The big picture: In the U.S., "no one can match Amazon right now," Carlborg says.

  • It has money to spend: The company said it will lay out an immediate $800 million on added trucks, warehouses and employees — and it expects to keep spending more.
  • It has millions more products: While Walmart and Target, Amazon's top U.S. competitors, also offer fast shipping, their inventory eligible for quick delivery comes nowhere close to Amazon's 100 million available products, says Carlborg.

And Amazon's ambitions are bigger than what the Chinese companies have announced so far.

  • CFO Brian Olsavsky told analysts on Thursday that Amazon expects to take 1-day shipping to all of its international markets, including Brazil, China and India. For now, China's speeding shipping is primarily a domestic offering.
  • Worth noting: JD.com is aiming to offer same-day shipping for 85% of products in Indonesia, its next-biggest market. Flipkart, Amazon's chief rival in India, has same-day delivery in 10 cities.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes carrying protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 930,000 and the global death toll exceeded 46,000 on Wednesday night, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 13,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. 1 future thing: Shifts to telemedicine, at-home diagnostics, and drone delivery are all likely lasting consequences from this pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases surpass 200,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Positive cases of the novel coronavirus passed 213,000 on Wednesday — nearly twice as many as Italy, per Johns Hopkins — as more state governors issued stay-at-home orders for Americans to curb infection.

The state of play: Trump administration officials are anonymously sounding the alarm that America's emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment is running dangerously low, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 15 mins ago - Health