Amazon’s billion-dollar investment pledge isn’t doing India any favours - commerce minister

Daniel Fowler
January 17, 2020

He said the watchdog's allegations were "an area of concern for every Indian".

Goyal's statement came a day after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, now on a three-day visit to India, pledged $1 billion in new investments to help take 10 million small Indian businesses online.

Bezos, who is now in India, said on Wednesday Amazon would invest $1 billion to bring small businesses online in the country, seen as part of the company's efforts to dispel criticism.

India does not allow foreign investment beyond 49% in multi-brand retailing and has not yet approved any application of overseas retailers. On Monday, the Competition Commission of India, the retail regulator, ordered a formal investigation into allegations that Amazon was engaging in unfair trade practices, such as the use of deep discounts and giving preference to select sellers. "Amazon is not doing a favour to India by investing a billion dollars", Goyal said on Thursday, as cited by media.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has been rubbing shoulders with some of India's top entertainers during a trip to the country this week.

The $1 billion investment by Amazon.com to help bring small and medium businesses online is on the top of Dollars 5.5 billion funding it had previously announced.

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Cameron used that information to illegally trade on the stock, avoiding a loss of approximately $570,900. He won reelection in November 2018, despite being criminally charged three months before.

Amazon Seller Services, the online marketplace arm of the e-commerce giant in India, made a loss of ₹5,685 crore in 2018-19, narrowing losses from the previous year by 9.5%, according to documents sourced by business intelligence platform Tofler.

"They (have been) investing money over the last few years in warehousing and certain other activities, which is welcome and good".

He added that in a fair market-place model with a turnover of USD 10 billion dollars, if a company is incurring a loss of a billion dollars, it "certainly raises questions where the loss came from". Authorities will seek those answers, he said at Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral conference held annually in New Delhi.

The minister added that India allows foreign investments in e-commerce marketplace model and in this model buyers and sellers are free to trade, but the marketplace player can not own the inventory, or they can not determine prices.

He added that the government has permitted e-commerce entities to enter the country under the marketplace model, and as long as everyone follows the rules, they are welcome to conduct their business here. "Whether they are doing it or not, it is for the investigators to decide".

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