Amazon’s Bezos Announced $1bn Investments In India To Digitize Small Businesses

Faced with dissent and protests from local trades and businesses in India, Amazon.com Inc chief Jeff Bezos made an announcement of the company making an investment of $1 billion in the country with the aim of aiding the small and medium businesses to come online. The company boss also committed that by 2025, it would export Indian made h=goods worth $10 billion.

Earlier, the largest e-commerce company of the world had announced an investment of $5.5 billion in India and the company had identified India as its most important market apart from its home market of the US and as crucial for its global growth.

“We are committed to being a long-term partner of India and actions speak louder than words,” Bezos said.

“Over the next five years, Amazon will invest an incremental USD 1 billion to digitize micro and small businesses… across India, helping them reach more customers than ever before. This initiative will use Amazon’s global footprint to create USD 10 billion in India exports by 2025,” he added.

One of the goals of the investment was to ensure that a greater number of Indians were able to part of the prosperity of the country, Bezos said. “We are making this announcement now because it is working… When something works you should double down on it. And that is why we are doing it.” Amazon hopes that this investment will “bring millions of more people into the future prosperity of India and at the same time expose the world to the ‘Make in India’ products that represent India’s rich, diverse culture.”

Amazon had earlier said that it expected exports via e-commerce from India would reach $5 billion by 2023 according to global selling program of the company.

Bezos made these comments while speaking at the SMBhav summit – an Amazon India gathering for small and medium businesses

“The 21st century is going to be the Indian century,” the Amazon founder said, and added: “This country has something special: its dynamism. I also predict that the most important alliance in the 21st century will be between India and the United States.”

During his three day trip to India, Bezos is slated to meet top government functionaries and business leaders of India.

While Bezos made investment commitments in India, the Competition Commission of India initiated an inquiry into allegations that Amazon, and its Indian company Flipkart was giving deep discounts, was making preferential listing and implementing exclusionary tactics

Amazon and Flipkart, and small store owners demonstrating on the streets against online retailers driving them out of business by offering sharply discounted products.

Members of the Confederation of All India Traders, a trade body representing about seven crore brick-and-mortar retailers, are also demonstrated against Amazon’s business policies in more than 300 cities in India during the visit of Bezos. .

The Indian government had passed new regulations last year in an attempt to regulate e-commerce marketplaces in India that have foreign investments. Under the new rules, such e-commerce platforms were not allowed to offer and sell products on their platform of companies in which the e-commerce companies have a stake. The government also disallowed exclusive marketing arrangements.

(Adapted from Business-Standard.com)

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