Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, pledged this week to invest an extra $1bn in the company’s operations in India, its most important market outside of the US.
Speaking at the SMBhav summit in New Delhi, an event involving around 3,000 small and medium business (SME) entrepreneurs, he revealed that the investment, which comes on top of $5.5bn that Amazon has already committed to India, aims to bring SMEs online.
In addition, Bezos promised that Amazon will export “Made in India” goods worth $10bn by 2025. “Over the next five years, Amazon will invest an incremental $1bn to digitise micro and small businesses… across India, helping them reach more customers than ever before,” he said in comments reported by Business Standard.
“This initiative will use Amazon’s global footprint to create $10bn in India exports by 2025,” he added, before explaining that the announcement was being made now because “it’s working” and “when something works, you should double down on it”.
Bezos, who wore a traditional Nehru jacket while addressing the SMBhav delegates, is on a three-day tour of India and his charm offensive is expected to include meetings with top government officials and business leaders.
Ahead of these meetings, he predicted that “the 21st century is going to be the Indian century” because of the country’s special dynamism and that “the most important alliance in the 21st century will be between India and the United States”.
According to Business Standard, Amazon’s additional $1bn will help to digitise millions of SMEs and traders across the country, including manufacturers, resellers, local shops and brands.
Around 100 “digital haats” will be established in local neighbourhoods and these will offer a range of services, such as digital marketing, e-commerce onboarding, imaging and cataloguing, logistics and compliance.
However, while it is reported that his announcement was greeted with applause at the SMBhav gathering, the Confederation of All India Traders, a body that represents mostly offline retailers, promised to protest in 300 cities against his visit.
And on Monday, just before Bezos’s trip, the Competition Commission of India launched an official investigation into allegations that Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart violated competition laws by offering deep discounts and preferential listings among other unfair trading practices.
Sourced from Business Standard, Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff