Big boost for Indian small businesses as Amazon boss announces $1bn investment
Jeff Bezos is visiting India at a time when his company is facing an anti-trust probe on several counts.
E-commerce giant Amazon will be investing $1 billion (over Rs 7,000 crore) in digitising small and medium businesses in India. The announcement was made on Wednesday by the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos, who is currently in India on a three-day visit.
The world's richest man paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat in the morning. He shared a video of his Raj Ghat visit on Twitter. In the video, Bezos -- in a white kurta-pajama and orange high-necked waistcoat -- is seen laying a wreath on the memorial site.
Just landed in India and spent a beautiful afternoon paying my respects to someone who truly changed the world. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Mahatma Gandhi. pic.twitter.com/xDXAT9cBgf— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) January 14, 2020
Later in the day, Bezos attended an event called “Amazon SMBhav” in Delhi and said: “25 years ago Amazon was an SMB. Today we are announcing that we are going to invest $1 billion in digitising SMBs.
“We will use Amazon’s global footprint to export outside of India. We will export $10 billion worth of Make in India goods by 2025.
“The 21st century is going to be the Indian century. The dynamism, the energy ... the growth. This country has something special and it's a democracy," Bezos said.
The “Amazon SMBhav” summit will be held from January 15-16 and will focus on discussions around how technology adoption can enable small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India.
According to reports, Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani and Piyush Pandey, Chief Creative Officer worldwide and Executive Chairman of India, Ogilvy, will attend the event.
At the summit, Bezos stated that the India-US alliance will be the most important in 21st century.
The Amazon boss is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, top government functionaries and business leaders. He will also meet Bollywood celebrities in Mumbai.
His India visit comes at a time when his company is facing an anti-trust probe on several counts, including deep discounts and exclusive tie-up with preferred sellers, in India. The firm had faced similar investigations in the EU and the US, reports say.
Earlier this week, the Competition Commission of India ordered an inquiry into the operations of both Amazon and Flipkart. According to the commission, these e-commerce platforms make deals with preferred sellers that lead to “a foreclosure of other non-preferred sellers from the online marketplace”.
According to Forbes, the Confederation of All India Traders -- a trade group that represents around 70 million merchants – is planning protests in 300 cities across the country this week, coinciding with Bezos’ visit.
Shopkeepers want Amazon, Flipkart and other online retailers to follow guidelines, tightened by the government a year ago, that would prevent e-commerce platforms from engaging in heavy discounting and online-only deals.