Global e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday opened its largest campus globally in the south Indian city of Hyderabad, as it prepares for a massive expansion programme in a move to compete with Walmart in one of the world's fastest-growing retail markets.
The Seattle-headquartered company is making an ambitious push in India, the last major retail frontier still primarily reliant on a small-scale neighbourhood and mom-and-pop stores, a Bloomberg report said.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has so far pledged $5.5 billion for its India operations.
"E-commerce is so small in India relative to the total consumption, less than 3 per cent," Amit Agarwal, Amazon's country manager for India, was quoted as saying by the news agency.
India is a huge, yet relatively untapped, market that is growing rapidly. In fact, the Indian e-commerce market is projected to grow at 20.2 per cent per annum to touch $52 billion by 2022, from total revenue of $25 billion in 2017, according to a report released by Admitad. The number of online buyers is expected to grow to 90 per cent during the period.
The largely untapped country is critical to the global domination plans of both Amazon and Walmart, the latter of which spent $16 billion last year to buy India's biggest startup, retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt.
Built-in Hyderabad over three years, the new campus is Amazon's first owned building outside of the United States, spans 1.8 million square feet of office space and will accommodate 15,000 workers. "The largest buildings in Seattle house about 5,000 employees," said John Schoettler, vice president of Amazon's Global Real Estate and Facilities.
"This facility will build services globally," Agarwal added, citing examples like AWS, Kindle, Alexa, Amazon.in and Amazon Home Services, which is "innovating on things like doorstep pick-up and electronics repair."
The US e-commerce giant is also investing in other fronts within the country. It is in negotiations to buy a 10 per cent stake in one of India's largest brick and mortar retailers, Future Retail. Local media have also reported that Amazon is eager to add food delivery to its Indian repertoire and is negotiating with multiple food companies to kick-start that line of business.
Amazon, which started its retail operations in India in 2013, has added several services to boost sales, including an expansion into producing Bollywood originals to boost its Prime Video loyalty program in the movie-loving country.