Amazon to pump in $1 billion to digitize SMBs in India, says Jeff Bezos

The comments come a day after India's antitrust authority ordered an investigation into Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart for violating competition rules

Amazon's Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos doesn't want to infuriate small and medium-sized businesses in India. Bezos, who reached India on Wednesday, said that his company will pump in as much as $1 billion over the next five years to bring small and medium-sized businesses to its online platform in India.

Bezos' announcement comes just a day after India's antitrust authorities ordered an investigation of Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart on allegations of violating competitions rules. However, both the companies have denied the allegations but have assured to cooperate with the antitrust body.

India an important market for Amazon

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos IANS

Bezos, who reached India on Wednesday, on a three-day visit, said at a company event that Amazon will be investing $1 billion to bring small and medium-sized business to its online platform. He also said that he expects exports of $1 billion of worth of India-made goods by 2025. Bezos said that Amazon will use its "size, scope and scale" to initiate this huge volume of exports. Bezos' itinerary has been kept under tight wraps and not much could be known about his plans over the next two days.

India is a big and key market for Amazon and other US e-commerce companies. However, US e-commerce companies have also had their share of struggles operating in India, with the country introducing stringent laws for foreign investment last year.

US e-commerce companies try to fight back

anytime by amazon
Amazon is working on a new messaging app called "Anytime. Reuters

Bezos' visit comes just a day after India's antitrust body, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), ordered an investigation into Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart for alleged violation of competitions rules. The complaint was filed by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh. The group, which represents thousands of small and medium scale retailers, has alleged the e-commerce companies of controlled several of its preferred sellers directly or indirectly.

Moreover, Amazon was already bracing for wide-scale protests in India by small and medium-sized businesses on the day of Bezos' arrival, who feel that the unhealthy competition practices by Amazon, Walmart and the likes have been hurting their operations.

Walmart too has been struggling in India and is yet to break even. The company invested $16 billion in Flipkart in 2016 to buy a majority stake in the e-commerce company. However, it is still making efforts to restructure the company and has also been on a retrenchment drive. Walmart fired 56 employees on Monday.

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