India welcomed Jeff Bezos this week with an antitrust probe. On top of that, thousands of small merchants who typically compete with one another are beginning to gather across the country to hold a protest against the alleged predatory practices by the e-commerce giant. But Amazon founder and chief executive’s love for one of the company’s most important overseas markets remains untainted.
At a conference on Wednesday, Bezos and Amit Agarwal, the head of Amazon India, announced that the American giant is pumping $1 billion into India to help small and medium-sized businesses in the country come online. Amazon has previously invested about $5.5 billion in India.
Bezos said the company is also eyeing making exports of locally produced products from India — in line with New Delhi’s Make in India program — to be of $10 billion size on Amazon platform by 2025.
“Over the next five years, Amazon will invest an incremental US$1 billion to digitize micro and small businesses in cities, towns, and villages across India, helping them reach more customers than ever before,” said Bezos.
“This initiative will use Amazon’s global footprint to create $10 billion in India exports by 2025. Our hope is that this investment will bring millions more people into the future prosperity of India and at the same time expose the world to the ‘Make in India’ products that represent India’s rich, diverse culture,” he added.
Amazon opened its conference, titled Amazon SMBhav (Hindi for possible, and a play on the word SMB), with videos of poor merchants and craftsmen in India who have expanded their businesses after signing up on the e-commerce platform.
An Amazon executive said the company has amassed over 500,000 sellers in India and thousands of merchants in the country who are selling on 12 Amazon marketplaces around the world.