CEO Jeff Bezos Announces $1 bn Investment to Digitise Indian SMBs
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CEO Jeff Bezos Announces $1 bn Investment to Digitise Indian SMBs 

Changing trends in the e-commerce world have forced retailers to come up with new techniques for attracting customers. As a part of its expansion plans, Amazon has announced plans to invest $1 billion for digitising small and medium businesses across India. The news was announced by CEO Jeff Bezos in an event held on January 15 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.

The move is seen as a way to promote the “Make in India” flagship drive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is focused on boosting manufacturing. In his announcement, Bezos said, “I predict that the 21st century is going to be the Indian century. The most important alliance is going to be the alliance between India and the United States, the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy.”

The announcement seems to come as an after-effect of a decision by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which clarified that Amazon and Flipkart will be investigated in connection with alleged violations of competition law. The investigation was requested by a New Delhi based traders’ association, Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, few days ago.

The association filed the complaint because of the retailers’ exclusive agreements with mobile phone brands and alleged preferential treatment of sellers. As per reports, the investigation will be completed within 60 days of the January 13 order.

The e-commerce retailers, Amazon and Flipkart, have denied the allegations. An Amazon spokesperson said, “We are confident in our compliance, and will co-operate fully with the CCI.”

As a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion, the Indian market is extremely important for e-commerce retailers. However, the praise and investment pledges made by Jeff Bezos have received extended criticism from small business owners in India. Sources have reported that thousands of business owners came out to protest against Bezos trip to India, on January 13.

Showing support to the investigation, a spokesman for the All India Online Vendors’ Association said, “We welcome this probe, now we have to see what they will do, we are sceptical.”

The e-commerce giant is aiming for expansion in the Middle Eastern countries too. The 2019 launch of Amazon.ae, a rebrand of Souq is a validated proof of the same. For helping advertisers to programmatically buy display and video ads, Amazon launched the Amazon DSP in the UAE in September 2019.

In alignment with its expansion plans, Amazon launched Sponsored Ads, Sponsored Brands and Stores for Amazon.ae sellers and vendors in the UAE on January 3, 2020. The company claims that sponsored products help customers to find and purchase products when they’re shopping for similar products on Amazon.ae.

Also, the company has introduced “Stores” on its UAE website. With this addition, Amazon claims vendors will be able to create content that can help shoppers to discover the brand’s product selection.

Besides working on its online retail business, Amazon is focusing on building a sizable digital-video advertising business that can give tough competition to rival, Roku.

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