Jeff Bezos’ visit to India on the backdrop of an on-going case against few e-commerce companies, including Amazon, maybe a coincidence. However, the visit has been started with the first step of wooing small Indian retailers. Jeff Bezos has clarified that Amazon India is likely to invest 1 billion USD to help the small and medium businesses (SMBs) in selling their products online. It should be noted that the world’s largest e-commerce player has already made an investment of above 5 billion USD in India since 2013.
Bezos said in an event held in New Delhi, “Our goal is, don’t forget, to make sure that more people can participate in the prosperity of India.” He added that the latest promise of investment is likely to empower the small traders specifically.
Bezos started his three-day visit by offering homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat in New Delhi, and he is scheduled to meet some eminent business leaders in Mumbai.
In a one-to-one talk with Amit Agarwal, Amazon India chief, Bezos said, “I want to make a prediction for you—I predict the 21st century will be the Indian century, this country has dynamism and energy, and everywhere I go here we see there is improvement in growth. This country has something special.” His second prediction was on the Indo-American relationship.
Amazon has planned to route the new line of investment in setting up 100 digital Haats. These Haats will be set up with an aim to help the small traders in making their products available for sale online.
However, Bezos’s visit has drawn heavy criticism from the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of CAIT, said that Amazon’s new investment was nothing but a promotion of the brand. He also added that the Indian small scale industry was in no need of any help from Amazon.
As far as an on-going case against Amazon and Flipkart in the Competition Commission of India goes, the allegation has been acknowledged on prima facie. The substantial discounts and alleged tie-ups with specific mobile phone brands are the two key points that may be examined by the CCI.