Jeff Bezos on Visit to India, Pays Respects To “Someone Who Truly Changed World”

Jeff Bezos on Visit to India, Pays Respects To "Someone Who Truly Changed World"

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos visited the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi after he landed in India on Tuesday. He posted a video where he is seen in a white kurta and an orange half-jacket, carrying a colourful wreath of flowers on the lawns of the memorial at Raj Ghat near central Delhi.

After placing the flowers, he folds his hands to pray before walking away. “Just landed in India and spent a beautiful afternoon paying my respects to someone who truly changed the world. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi,” Mr Bezos tweeted. He also posted the video along with the same message on Instagram.

The e-tailer giant’s chief executive’s visit to India comes at a time when the country’s anti-trust body Competition Commission of India said it is looking into alleged unfair practices by Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart.

Jeff Bezos promised a new billion-dollar investment in India, just two days after authorities launched an anti-trust investigation into the e-commerce giant. A three-day visit by Bezos, whose worth has been estimated at more than $110 billion, sparked protests in New Delhi and other cities by traders who accuse Amazon and its main U.S.-owned rival Flipkart of killing off India’s army of street traders.

Bezos, who has spent heavily to make his company an e-commerce titan in the world’s second most-populous nation, sought to head off critics by promising one billion dollars to digitize small and medium-sized Indian businesses.

“We will use our global footprint to export $10 billion worth of ‘Make in India’ products across the world by 2025,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to boost national production. Bezos highlighted India’s growing importance, saying “the 21st century will be the Indian century” and that the US-India alliance will be the most important.

Amazon and Flipkart — founded in India but taken over by Walmart in 2018 for $16 billion — face increasing scrutiny and resentment despite their popularity among customers.

Bezos’ India visit comes at a time when the e-commerce player is facing an anti-trust investigation on multiple counts, including deep discounts and exclusive tie-up with preferred sellers, in India. It had faced similar investigations in the EU and the US.

Amazon has committed $5.5 billion in India investments, while Walmart in 2018 pumped in $16 billion to buy a majority stake in Flipkart, its biggest deal.

A complaint by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, whose members include thousands of traders dealing in smartphones and related accessories, have accused the e-tailers of anti-competitive practices like preferential listing, exclusive tie-ups and private labels. The traders have said they will hold a massive protest during Mr Bezos’ visit to India.

Media reports said Bezos has sought a meeting with Modi, but neither the government nor Amazon would confirm if talks would be held. Agarwal highlighted special deals with mobile phone makers under which they are sold online, often at discount, before they reach high street shops.

He said 55,000 of the 100,000 small traders who have gone out of business in the past six months — when Amazon and Flipkart have fought a merciless price cutting war — were mobile phone sellers. About 50 traders held a rally in Delhi chanting “Jeff Bezos — Go Back!”

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