Amazon takes up 100,000 sq ft at Mapletree facility: sources

AMAZON has signed a lease for nearly 100,000 square feet at Mapletree Logistics Hub – Toh Guan in the Jurong East area, sources have told BT.

This is expected to serve as a fulfilment centre for its e-commerce business as well as offices. Operations are expected to begin in two months.

Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT), the owner of the six-storey ramp-up warehouse facility, declined to comment when contacted by The Business Times.

The facility has about 656,600 sq ft net lettable area that was completed this year.

Earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Amazon, which does not currently offer local services in South-east Asia, is working to enter the region through a launch in Singapore. The plan is to launch selected services in Singapore within the first quarter of 2017, it added.

In the CBD, the tech giant occupies slightly more than 50,000 sq ft of offices in leased premises at Capital Square.

Its cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services (AWS), operates data centres here. Talk in the market is that AWS is planning to build its own data centre in the Jurong data centre park in the Sunview Way/Sunview Road locale. JTC is understood to have earmarked 10 plots of land for the dedicated data centre park. JTC awarded the first site to Telekomunikasi Indonesia International Pte Ltd in 2014. Its facility has been completed.

As for AWS, word on the street is that it is looking at being allocated four plots in the park. JTC’s spokeswoman declined to comment. AWS’s spokeswoman in Singapore too declined to comment but added that the division has set up data centres in multiple locations here since 2010.

Demand for outsourcing of data centres was traditionally fuelled by financial institutions and other organisations needing to back up data for disaster recovery and business contingency planning purposes – in the aftermath of the 911 tragedy.

This source of demand, however, is now being dwarfed by cloud computing, which is experiencing exponential growth because of e-commerce, the Internet of Things, smart cities and big data, say market watchers.

Another e-commerce giant, Alibaba of China, is also expanding in Singapore in a big way. It has a 10.2 per cent stake in Singapore Post and recently received the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s approval to raise this to 14.4 per cent. In addition, Alibaba owns 34 per cent of SingPost’s e-commerce logistics subsidiary, Quantium Solutions International. In April, Alibaba bought a controlling stake in Singapore-based e-commerce site Lazada for around US$1 billion.

Alibaba is said to have even bigger ambitions in Singapore than Amazon. Talk in the market is that Alibaba and/or its co-founder Jack Ma in his private capacity are looking to invest in prime CBD office space in addition to scouting for warehousing facilities for the group’s e-commerce operations in Singapore.

Market watchers have been speculating for some time now on whether Alibaba/Mr Ma would be keen on the white site in Central Boulevard with a mandatory office component being offered at a state tender that will close on Tuesday (Nov 8).

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