Jeff Bezos wealth exceeds $171 billion during pandemic
Mr Bezos, who built up the digital empire that is Amazon, will step down as its Chief Executive later this year. After amassing a fortune of almost $200billion (£141.6bn) he will hand over responsibilities to Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon’s cloud computing business. Mr Bezos said the move would give him “time and energy” to focus on his other ventures including Blue Origin, the aerospace and spaceflight company.
He will instead become Executive Chairman, retaining ties with the company.
While the billionaire briefly lost a chunk of his wealth following the Brexit vote – around $1bn (£708,000) according to Digital Spy – Mr Bezos is now set to cash-in on the UK’s departure from the EU.
Since the UK officially left the EU customs market earlier this year, businesses in Britain have faced obstacles in selling and shipping to Europe-based consumers.
This is especially true of smaller businesses who are now faced with increased administrative tasks and paperwork.
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Seven-page forms are required for each small item exported to the continent, a process that before took seconds, added to additional Brexit-related costs including VAT and duty.
These businesses, as well as larger scale brick and mortar retailers, are now believed to be in line to use Mr Bezos’ Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) service in what could be another bitter blow to physical shops, according to The London Economic (TLE).
FBA allows Amazon to deliver an item to a consumer quicker than buying it from the business itself.
A small business can sell a batch of items to Amazon for the outlet to package and dispatch directly from an Amazon warehouse.
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Fulfilled by Amazon: Warehouses across the UK could soon be used to deliver products to the EU
The red tape places Amazon in a good position “to fulfil orders from territory specific hubs”.
TLE said: “As a result of the Brexit deal, Amazon is reported to be moving quickly to open its first packing and distribution warehouse in Ireland.
“This will allow it to avoid delays brought by new Brexit trade arrangements.”
The Irish Times reported that Amazon wants to use a 650,000 square foot unit at a business park in Baldonnell, west of Dublin.
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FBA: An Amazon warehouse filled with products that have been ‘fulfilled’
Amazon expansion: A warehouse under construction leased by Amazon in Dartford
If the deal goes ahead customers are expected to receive purchases made on Amazon faster, as many items are currently dispatched from the UK.
Importantly, it also means sellers can distribute bulk orders to the Amazon warehouse for sales and fulfilment rather than dispatch each item individually, alongside the new administrative tasks.
A small business owner told TLE they were considering making the switch to FBA.
Lizzie Houghton said: “It’s still early days, but on the face of it, the administrative burden on small businesses seems quite significant.
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“Our customers are unhappy at being charged VAT by couriers.
“Additionally, the paperwork we are required to submit with each small item, which in the past took seconds, is staggering.
“Hopefully we can overcome some of these teething problems and the Government can look at ironing out these issues.
“We’re looking at expanding our sales on Amazon because Amazon fulfilment in EU markets seems very appealing compared to the amount of paperwork required for us to ship each item individually.”
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Meanwhile, in a statement addressing his stepping down, Mr Bezos told employees: “Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else.
“As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.
“I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have.”