It is most definitely the case that Jeff Bezos' visit to India was more than an opportunity of soaking in the sights and culture of the country, all signs point towards the CEO of Amazon eyeing to expand his company's reach in the Indian Market.
India is a lucrative market for Amazon with its only prime competitor being Flipkart. Both these companies have a chokehold on the market with Flipkart (31.9 percent) outdoing Amazon(31.2 percent) by the thinnest of margins.
Bezos in vacation mode
The billionaire began his trip with a visit to the tomb of Mahatma Gandhi and posted the experience on Instagram. For the visit to Gandhi's tomb, Bezos donned a Nehru vest, it was the same garb he wore during the talk alongside Indian Amazon Chief, Amit Agarwal.
After this, in order to relax- he flew a kite with children. Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, posed for photos at the blue carpet event in Mumbai organized by on Thursday. Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan posted a photo of himself with filmmaker Zoya Akhtar along with Bezos.
Indian business owners unhappy with Bezos' ways
Amazon's top competitor in the country is the locally started Flipkart, a company that seems to be fairing only slightly better in terms of their profits when compared to its contemporaries. Another wrinkle for the billionaire who visited the country after five years was being hounded by India's antitrust regulators opening up an investigation into Amazon as protests raged on against the Amazon and its CEO.
The Amazon CEO visited India this week after five years and spend his time meeting with business leaders, paying his respects at Mahatma Gandhi's Tomb and even flying a kite. During the process, Bezos pledged that his company would invest $1 Billion in digitalizing small and medium Indian businesses while speaking at a business summit in New Delhi on Wednesday. He said Amazon would use its global reach to export $10 Billion worth of goods produced in India.
"I predict that the 21st century is going to be the Indian century," he proclaimed during his speech with the crowd erupting into cheers.
Indian store owners protested pointing at 'predatory' business practices of Amazon
However, not all were overjoyed at the prospect of the billionaire investing funds into the Indian market, namely, Indian store owners who protested and the dissenters pointing at the 'predatory' business practices of the company. Amazon along with the Walmart-backed Flipkart is facing a probe by Indian Antitrust officials over allegations that the companies broke the country's law by using proxies to undercut local sellers.
While Bezos was rubbing shoulders with Bollywood stars, he wasn't allowed to meet PM Modi over the allegations that his company is facing. Bezos' visit has been a controversial one with the country's antitrust regulators opening an investigation into Amazon's practices. "Jeff Bezos go back!" were the signs held by the protestors who consisted of business owners of 300 Indian cities-railing against the manner in which the company and the CEO conduct business.