Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ pledge to invest $1 billion in India met with local resistance

Amazon plans on investing $1 billion in small Indian businesses over the next five years, according to CEO Jeff Bezos. He said this at the Amazon Smbhav event held in New Delhi, where he addressed thousands of small and medium businesses (SMBs), startups, and technology solution companies that showed up to attend the two-day event. Amazon hopes its investment will impact as many as 10 million small and medium businesses over the course of five years.

Speaking at the company event, Bezos predicted that Amazon’s investment could help Indian traders export $10 million worth of goods during these 5 years, which favors Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signature “Make in India” campaign.

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Amazon’s investment campaign will not be easy to market. As Jeff Bezos addressed the summit, in other cities a large trade organization representing millions of small brick-and-mortar stores, known as The Confederation of All India Traders, organized protests across the country against the company and its founder. In a public statement, the Confederation Secretary-General lamented that Amazon’s autocratic business model had decimated the local e-commerce and retail industry with its malpractices, resulting in the closure of many local shops.

Traders hold a placard during a demonstration demanding the closure of online shopping platforms Amazon and Flipkart, in New Delhi on January 15, 2020. – Bezos, whose worth has been estimated at more than $110 billion, is officially in India for a meeting of business leaders in New Delhi. | Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images

These protests come just as India’s Competition Commission began to investigate allegations that Amazon and its biggest e-commerce competitor in India, Flipkart, have been illegally undercutting local businesses. A New Delhi trade group claims the two e-commerce giants have been giving massive discounts and more favorable listings to certain sellers, many which they allegedly control or have a stake in.

Amazon and Flipkart have also been accused of giving preference to products from their in-house brands and signing exclusive online deals with several companies, particularly smartphone makers, thereby threatening retail businesses.

Despite these hurdles, Jeff Bezos remains optimistic and committed to being a long-term partner for India. What do you think of Bezos’ $1 billion investment and Amazon’s business practices in India? Let us know in the comments!

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