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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

Kate Marino, author of Markets
56 mins ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views on their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of cancelled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

The shifting definition of fully vaccinated

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The definition of what it means to be "fully vaccinated" is evolving even as the CDC has remained careful not to officially change it.

Why it matters: CDC officials have been balancing the job of convincing Americans who've already gotten two doses of the importance of boosters with getting many Americans who still need their first doses to get their shots at all.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Small businesses see hiring as No. 1 worry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Almost every small business owner in a Goldman Sachs survey is having trouble hiring — and two-thirds think the federal government has done too little to ease their hiring, supply-chain and inflation worries.

Why it matters: The Goldman Sachs research gives a vivid window into the continuing headwinds and hardship for entrepreneurs.