American multinational e-commerce company Amazon has halted the test of its automated delivery robot called “Amazon Scout” after it failed to meet customers’ needs.
The company which began the testing of its delivery robot in 2019, disclosed that due to the halt of its delivery robot, Amazon will offer new positions to 400 people who worked on the project.
Following the company’s plan to stop the test of its “Amazon Scout”, a spokesperson at the company said, “During our Scout limited field test, we worked to create a unique delivery experience, but learned through feedback that there were aspects of the program that weren’t meeting customers’ needs,” Alisa Carroll, an Amazon spokesperson, told members of the media.
“As a result, we are ending our field tests and reorienting the program. We are working with employees during this transition, matching them to open roles that best fit their experience and skills.”
However, the spokesperson further disclosed the e-commerce company isn’t totally abandoning the idea of an autonomous robot, rather it will continue to look into the technology, though the vast majority of workers will be reassigned to other programs.
Amazon Scout was officially unveiled in 2019, following the e-commerce giant’s acquisition of robotics firm Dispatch two years prior.
In August 2019, the robots started delivering packages to customers in Irvine California on a test basis, with human monitors. The package is put inside the robot and driven to the customer who opens it and collects the package.
At the time of launch, the company touted the program as a method for continuing deliveries amid COVID shutdowns, though the operation still required the presence of “Scout Ambassadors” humans tasked with making sure nothing went wrong.
Due to the recent global inflation ravaging economies, the scrapping of Amazon Scout is the latest in a series of cost-cutting maneuvers for Amazon, which has experienced slowing sales growth in 2022.
Jumia Nigeria Appoints Sunil Natraj as CEO, Outlines Ambitious Expansion Plans
Former Jumia Ghana CEO to Lead E-Commerce Giant as Massimiliano Spalazzi Steps Down
Jumia Nigeria, a prominent player in the e-commerce sector, has announced the appointment of Sunil Natraj as its new CEO.
Natraj, the former CEO of Jumia Ghana, will take the helm of the e-commerce business in January 2024, succeeding Massimiliano Spalazzi, who has been with Jumia Group for 11 years and will be stepping down in December 2023.
The announcement came during a media parley held in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, with Francis Dufay, the CEO of Jumia Group, unveiling Natraj as the new leader.
Natraj expressed Jumia’s commitment to becoming a truly Nigerian company and continuing the initiatives started by Spalazzi.
“We want to continue what Spalazzi started,” Natraj stated, emphasizing Jumia’s vision to expand its presence beyond Lagos.
He disclosed plans to extend operations to additional Nigerian cities, with Akure and Ilorin on the radar and a focus on cities en route to Ibadan, Warri, and Benin in the first quarter of 2024.
The overarching strategy is to create a comprehensive network covering the entire country.
Dufay outlined the ambitious goal of targeting cities with populations exceeding 20,000 people, citing successful precedents in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal.
He acknowledged the challenges faced by Jumia, including a workforce reduction in Q4 2022 and a 73% cut in advertising budgets in Q3 2023.
Despite the hurdles, Dufay highlighted Nigeria as Jumia’s largest market and affirmed the company’s determination to navigate and thrive in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape.
Alibaba Faces Rare Downgrade as PDD Surpasses It in Market Value
Alibaba Scraps $11 Billion Cloud Spinoff Plans Over Chip Sales Woes
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has abandoned its $11 billion cloud business spinoff and public listing plans, citing the escalating US-China technological rivalry.
Chairman Joseph Tsai and CEO Eddie Wu, acknowledging the need for a “reset,” pointed to the increasing US restrictions on chip sales to China as a driving factor in the decision.
Wu emphasized the imperative to provide “cash to make investments” in the AI-driven landscape, requiring a robust and highly scaled infrastructure.
Wall Street responded swiftly to the surprise move, with Alibaba’s shares plummeting 9.1% in New York trading, wiping out over $20 billion of market value, marking their most substantial drop in over a year.
The decision comes amid Alibaba’s efforts to recover from the pandemic, navigate China’s tech industry crackdown, and compete with emerging players like PDD Holdings and ByteDance’s Douyin.
The Biden administration’s stringent export controls on chips critical for Alibaba’s cloud services, designed for AI use, played a pivotal role.
The cloud business, essential for Alibaba’s AI initiatives, faces challenges due to the US sanctions impacting chip supplies.
Instead of the spinoff, Alibaba will focus on organic growth for the cloud unit and issue its inaugural annual dividend of $2.5 billion.
This surprising move reflects the challenges posed by US-China tensions and underscores the complexities Chinese tech giants face in navigating global geopolitical issues.
“The strength of the business itself is an issue.” – Li Chengdong, Head of Haitun Technology Think Tank.
“The market is scratching its head. The first annual dividend looks like compensation to shareholders.
However, it may not fully offset the shock given the higher value of the cloud unit.” – Willer Chen, Research Analyst at Forsyth Barr Asia.
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