Hailing India as a nation to watch out for in the 21st century, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday said that the US-based e-commerce platform will invest $1 billion to bring small and medium businesses online in India.
Bezos, who is in India for a three-day visit, further said that the company will use its global footprint to export. “We are going to export 10 billion dollars of make in India goods by 2025,” he said while chatting with Amazon India head Amit Agarwal at the two-day summit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) Smbhav in New Delhi.
The announcements have come at a time Amazon is facing protests from offline traders and a probe by the competition commission of India (CCI) over alleged anti-competitive practices.
On Monday, the competition watchdog had ordered a probe of Amazon and Flipkart over alleged malpractices of deep discounting, having preferred sellers on their marketplace, preferential listings and promotion of private labels, and exclusive launch deals of mobile phones.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) – a traders body – staged protests against Amazon chief Jeff Bezos in 300 cities across the country in which 5 lakh small traders participated.
For the past several months, offline traders have been protesting restlessly against violation of FDI norms, exclusive agreements with sellers and anti-competition practices. The trader’s body has also approached multiple ministries in the govt complaining about dominant anti-competitive practices exercised by Amazon and Flipkart.
CAIT’s Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal warned Bezos to first comply with India’s FDI norms and stop building false narratives of helping small businesses.
“It’s not an investment but promotional finance to Amazon India to crush retail trade and encouraging his team in India to do more predatory pricing and deep discounting and go on in violating FDI policy,” said Khandelwal reacting to Amazon’s investment.
He further raised questions on Amazon’s claim to have empowered 5 lakh retailers already registered on their portal.
Why none of these retailers figures among the top 20 sellers on Amazon in the last five years? he added.
Till date, the US-based e-commerce giant, which considers India as a key growth market, has committed $5.5 billion investments.
Bezos also said that Amazon will be plastic-free in India by June this year.
In his three-day-long visit, Bezos is expected to meet government officials, business leaders and SMEs.