Amazon steps up recruitment as it expands in Europe


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Tuesday unveiled plans to build a rocket manufacturing plant and ...
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Tuesday unveiled plans to build a rocket manufacturing plant and launch site in Florida, a business that will compete against fellow tech billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Bezos’ space startup, Blue Origin, intends to invest more than $200 million to build a rocket manufacturing facility adjacent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, state officials said. The rockets will fly from a refurbished launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located just south of the NASA spaceport. The announcement follows last week’s opening of a Boeing commercial spaceship assembly plant at the Kennedy Space Center. Both projects included financial backing from state, local and regional economic development agencies. So far, Florida has invested about $2 billion to lure aerospace companies to the state. Blue Origin has been developing and testing a small rocket, called New Shepard, that can travel about 100 miles (62 km) above the planet before returning to Earth. The company’s new rockets will be able to reach orbital altitudes, such as the 250- (400 km) mile-high perch of the International Space Station, and beyond. Bezos, who was in Florida to make the announcement, said Blue Origin also will test its BE-4 engines at the new launch site. The company is partnering with United Launch Alliance, a joint-venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, on the engine development. Blue Origin's still-to-be-named rockets also will compete against United Launch Alliance, as well as privately owned SpaceX, founded and run by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk. “This is a translational moment ... the evolution of a new commercial space industry in Florida,” said Frank DiBello, president of Space Florida, an economic development agency.

Online retailer Amazon plans to create several thousand jobs in Europe in 2016, more than 2,500 of which will be in Britain, stepping up its expansion in the region, it said on Friday.

The jobs form part of an investment by the U.S.-based company to expand its warehouses and delivery network in Europe, its research and development (R&D) capability, and build new infrastructure to support its cloud-computing business.

Amazon said it created over 10,000 permanent jobs in Europe in 2015, bringing its European workforce to over 40,000.

“We are seeing stronger demand than ever from our customers all across Europe, and we see lots more opportunity across Amazon’s businesses to invent and invest for the future,” said Xavier Garambois, vice president, Amazon EU retail.

Amazon enjoyed record Christmas trading in Europe. Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than $16.3 billion on infrastructure and operations in Europe, with more than $6.6 billion invested in the UK.

It raised the pressure on Britain’s established supermarkets in November with the nationwide launch of a packaged groceries service for Amazon Prime members.

The move was the ecommerce giant’s most ambitious foray into Britain’s growing online grocery market but stopped short of replicating its broader U.S. Amazon Fresh service, which offers about 20,000 chilled, frozen and perishable products and items from local shops.

However, a recent bid approach by Britain’s second largest supermarket chain Sainsbury’s to Home Retail, the owner of Argos, has been seen as a response to the competitive threat posed by Amazon.

The new British jobs, which will take Amazon’s UK workforce to over 14,500 by the end of 2016, include posts at its new head office in London, and at its three R&D centers, 10 warehouses and 24 delivery stations.

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