It’s been a struggle for Amazon competitors, reports Tech Crunch. Canada’s has declared bankruptcy and launches a fire sale and, with it’s pre-hype launch, is reportedly in talks with Wal-Mart regarding its acquisition.

A Wal-Mart exit isn’t the upstart victory against an industry giant, but it is more like the two survivors of a nuclear apocalypse meeting on the wasteland and pooling resources to get a few more days of survival.

Wal-Mart is lagging behind Amazon with line sales, and despite gains in the cross-over business like online purchase of groceries with retail pickup, that’s not enough to go against Amazon in terms of overall online footprint.

Amazon owning a massive 38% share of the consumer ecommerce market in the US – a lead that’s only growing.

However, there is some degree of hope among alternative models, provided that these models integrate Amazon’s dominance. For example, Shopify reported earnings and impressed investors with 93% revenue growth vs the year-ago quarter. A key factor in this success is the fact that Shopify’s first integrated marketplace channel, Amazon, is in advanced beta testing and headed for a full launch at the end of this year.

The retail trend unfolding within the next few years will be going on Amazon to buy mainstream and go boutique for everything else.

This will only be the case if small and medium sized players can continue to co-exist with, rather than be consumed by Amazon. As long as Shopfy’s earnings are a decent reflection of the health of the more modestly-sized end of the consumer ecommerce market.

A version of this appeared in Tech Crunch on August 3. Read the full version here.

Vietnam's Advantage In European Trade Deal

Share of total EU-Asean Trade in 2015. Vietnam following behind Singapore, Source:

Vietnam may continue to take market share of the European Union trade from other Southeast Asian countries this year. The country accounted for 19.1 percent of the $227 billion (201.4 billion euros) in total trade between the EU and ASEAN nations last year, an increase from 15.8 percent in 2014 and could increase again 2016.

The country’s market growth combined with the finalization of the free trade pact indicates a more dynamic trade relationship in the future, according to the EU.

Vietnam has been steadily growing since 2014 when it overtook other ASEAN countries as the United States’ biggest exporter leaving traditional manufacturing hubs behind.

Vietnam was also able to capitalize on shifting production patterns in Asia as labor costs in China rose.

The ability to capitalize production led to Samsung Electronics Co.’s investment, it now assembles and exports smartphones from Vietnam. Several Vietnamese supply chain companies have now joined forces with the Vietnamese arm of Samsung. 

Although Singapore is still the EU’s biggest partner in Southeast Asia, it’s market share has dropped along with Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia who lost market share to Vietnam. Vietnam’s makes a very appealing trade partner with the EU by exporting electronic products, coffee and clothes. It is now the second country in ASEAN after Singapore that the EU has signed a free trade pact with.

Vietnam’s rise as a key player in overseas trade

The EU has begun to target Vietnam and Singapore in a new business initiative aimed at giving European SMEs more exposure and opportunities in Southeast Asia. This means that countries such as Thailand and Indonesia risk being completely overtaken by Vietnam, as the country has managed to capitalize on many advantages. This will provide Vietnam with international growth potential, whether through trade or online.

As Thailand and Malaysia were enjoying its traditional manufacturing perks, Vietnam was struggling to catch up, but now it seems that the country is benefiting from slower initial growth. Samsung’s investment made a significant contribution, and now Vietnam is on track to becoming a key player in trade with the European Union.

A version of this appeared in Bloomberg Technology on June 16. Read the full article here.