E-Commerce

Amazon To Invest $1 Billion In India To Digitise Small Business

Amazon.com Inc. will invest $1 billion in digitizing small- and medium businesses in India and expects to export $10 billion worth of India-made goods by 2025, its founder Jeff Bezos said on Wednesday. Speaking at a company event in New Delhi, Bezos also said he feels 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. Amazon has committed $5.5 billion in India investments and sees the country as a key growth market.

Bezos, who began a three-day visit to India on Tuesday by visiting Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat here, was speaking at the SMBhav summit – an Amazon India gathering for small and medium businesses. Bezos is also expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other government officials to ease out regulatory challenges in the country.

“The 21st century is going to be the Indian century,” the Amazon founder said, adding: “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.” Bezos is expected to meet top government functionaries and business leaders during the trip.

His visit has been marked by the Competition Commission of India initiating a formal investigation into alleged deep discounts, preferential listing and exclusionary tactics adopted by Amazon and Flipkart, and small store owners demonstrating on the streets against online retailers driving them out of business by offering sharply discounted products.

The Confederation of All India Traders, an association of about seven crore brick-and-mortar retailers, has said it will protest across 300 cities during his visit.

Last year, the government had tightened rules for e-commerce marketplaces with foreign investment. These rules barred such platforms from offering products of sellers in which they hold a stake and banned exclusive marketing arrangements among other clauses. Following this, Amazon restructured its joint ventures to ensure compliance. Bezos is likely to take up these issues in his various meetings with government officials.

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