5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Amazon Australia fulfillment centre in Melbourne. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

It felt like a bit of an anti-climax yesterday, but Amazon still dominates the tech news today:

1. Amazon Australia will be taking losses to play the long game. Industry analyst IBISWorld estimates the US giant will undercut local retailers by 30% initially to gain quick market share, which means great news for Christmas shoppers in Australia but not so much for all the retailers. The strategy reminds Business Insider of the leaked quote from a Amazon staffer a year ago that it’s coming here to “destroy” the local scene. Experts, however, have warned Australia’s long distances and sparse population will prove a challenge for Amazon – but one academic says robots could be the answer.

2. Australian shoppers probably don’t have much sympathy for incumbent retailers though. A customer experience expert told Business Insider local retailers that want to survive the post-Amazon era have to match the US company’s “true customer obsession” – by treating them as individuals and waking up to the fact they “want to buy what they want, when they want”. Read more on that here.

3. Amazon’s impact on the Australian economy will take a few years to show. That’s the opinion of a senior Westpac economist, who notes that “general consumer backdrop remains downbeat leading into year end”, so the launch of the website will likely “cannibalise” sales that would have gone to local players – rather than have people buying more. Meanwhile, speculation is swirling around which Australian companies Amazon might partner with – for access to customer databases, cross-promotions and the like.

4. Tesla has finished building the world’s biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia. Elon Musk had a December 1 deadline to get it going or he promised the state would receive it for free. But it looks like South Australia will be invoiced after all, with charging to start at the French energy business Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm north of Adelaide. Read more.

5. Looking for a new smartphone for Christmas? The market is now super-competitive but Business Insider US has put together a list of the 20 best phones to help you wade through the options.

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