Amazon to invest $1 billion in India, amid anti-trust probe, traders’ protest

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Delhi: Amazon will invest $1 billion in India to digitize local small and medium businesses (SMB). Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said this during his company’s event, Amazon SMBhav held in Delhi on Wednesday.

“25 years ago Amazon was an SMB. Today we are announcing that we are going to invest $1 billion in digitizing SMBs,” said Bezos in his speech.

The investment planned over a five year period will mainly be used in driving the digitization of local businesses across the length and breadth of India connecting villages and small towns.

The company plans to set up some 100 digital centers to connect with local businesses, retailers, artisans and karigars (skilled craftsmen). These centers will help them with marketing, logistics and other digital sell functions.

The company wants to connect with more number of SMBs across India and bring them on-board its digital platform Amazon India Marketplace.

Amazon also wants to engage in Indian government’s Make-in-India initiative and leverage the locally made products for exporting to other markets.

“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,” said Bezos.

The two days Amazon SMBhav event is aimed to connect small and medium business in India.

However, Amazon’s $1 billion investment announcement is also seen as a planned tactic to win the Indian government’s confidence, amid the ongoing anti-trust probe and traders’ protest.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) according to reports has initiated an anti-trust probe against e-retailers in India, including Amazon and Walmart owned Flipkart for their “deep discounting sale practices.”

Trade bodies and retailers’ associations have been strongly objecting against such practices and alleged that it violates the Indian law.

India’s e-commerce market revenues are set to touch $120 billion in 2020. From 2017 onward, the revenues have grew over 50% yearly basis, revealed a CCI study.

Not far away from Amazon’s on-going event in Delhi, a small group of retailers and merchants had gathered and protested against Amazon’s chief Bezos.These protesters carried along a large size banner with bold imprint of “Go Back Amazon.”

One of the main reasons behind Bezos’ three day India visit is also to seek meetings with top government officials in Delhi.

(Image source – Wallpaper cave)

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