Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, Says Will Invest $1 Billion in India in Digitising Small and Medium Businesses

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Amazon is investing fresh $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,089 crores) in India, CEO Jeff Bezos announced while speaking at the small and medium businesses (SMBs) focussed Amazon Smbhav event in New Delhi on Wednesday. The US e-commerce giant has also revealed that it is set to export $10 billion (roughly Rs. 70,890 crores) of India-manufactured goods by 2025. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, 56, is on his latest visit to India, over five years after he last arrival in the country back in October 2014. The two-day event witnessed the presence of more than 3,000 SMBs on its first day. The Seattle-headquartered company has over 500,000 sellers in India.

“Today, we’re announcing that we’re going to invest, an incremental $1 billion (Rs. 7,086.8 crores) in digitising small and medium businesses,” said Jeff Bezos during his chat session with Amit Agarwal, Global Senior Vice President and Country Head of Amazon India. The company’s goal is to bring 10 million Indian businesses online by 2025.

The new investment will be added to Amazon’s existing funding of a total of over $5.5  billion (roughly Rs. 38,986 crores) in the country.

Aside from announcing the fresh investment plans, Jeff Bezos at Amazon Smbhav announced that the company will use its global footprint to export locally produced goods in the country, hoping to export goods worth $10 billion by 2025. He also emphasised that the 21st century would be the century for the alliance between India and the US.

In a separate, prepared statement, Jeff Bezos was quoted to say, “We’re committed to being a long-term partner of India. And actions speak louder than words. Over the next five years, Amazon will invest an incremental $1 billion to digitize micro and small businesses in cities, towns, and villages across India, helping them reach more customers than ever before. 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.”

Bezos kicked off his visit to India by paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi on Tuesday. He also posted a tweet to highlight his visit at Gandhi’s memorial at Raj Ghat in the capital city.

Amazon sees India as a huge-potential market with 16-17 million SMBs exist in the country. The US-based company ventured into Indian e-commerce space in 2013, though it started its business operations in 2004.

Bezos’ visit in India has been criticised by Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). According to media reports, hundreds and thousands of small brick-and-mortar retailers have planned a countrywide protest against the e-commerce giant. CAIT has also accused Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart of violating India’s foreign investment rules. Both companies have denied the allegations, though.

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