The Amazon Effect

Oct 13, 2017


Amazon has embarked on a massive expansion. What does that mean for retail in America and for Hawaii? Pacific Business News editor-in-chief A. Kam Napier has more.

Pacific Business News and its 42 sister publications nationwide have undertaken a massive analysis of Amazon’s expansion, which is fueled, in part, by one $1 billion in tax payer subsidies. This includes local subsidies in the hundreds of millions of dollars for Amazon’s network of 257 distribution centers spread across 33 states.

Hawaii is not one of those states, yet, but as we explore this week, Amazon’s expanded distribution network is an opportunity for Hawaii-based business to serve more customers, more quickly. Last month, Amazon hosted a four-day training session on Maui specifically geared around how local small businesses can better use its fulfillment network to increase sales.

Amazon Warehouse Facility in Spain
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Part of Amazon’s expansion has been its search for a city that can house its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. PBN has examined the specifications in Amazon’s request for proposals and taken a look at how Honolulu measures up.

Amazon wants a city with a metropolitan area of 1 million or more people. All of Oahu doesn’t quite add up to a million. HQ2 will need 50,000 employees, many of them software engineers. Hawaii has just under 16,000 tech workers statewide. Compare that to San Diego, with nearly 70,000 tech workers in just one city. Amazon wants HQ2 sited near mass transit and well, ours is years from completion.  And these are just a few of the measures we explore that show not how small Honolulu is, necessarily, but how mammoth Amazon itself has become.