New Delhi Jeff Bezos is obviously making an effort to get the Indians on board. Immediately after landing in New Delhi, the Amazon chief drives to the Raj Ghat Mahatma Gandhi Memorial to lay a wreath.
For state visitors to the Indian capital, this is a popular program item to pay tribute to the country and its national hero. The appearance only seems a bit strange in this case, because it is now the richest man in the world who bows before India's most famous, possessless ascetic.
With the gesture, the 110-time billionaire failed to calm the controversy surrounding his company. Indian retailers accuse the e-commerce market leader of having displaced tens of thousands of small businesses with unfair business methods – and used the visit to protest. Bezos tried to change the mood with a billion dollar promise.
India is the next big growth hope for Amazon. In New Delhi, Bezos tried to stage the urge to expand in the country with a population of 1.3 billion as a kind of development aid: he wanted to invest a billion dollars in India over the next five years to help small businesses such as artisans and weavers digitize theirs Helping business, Bezos said Wednesday at an event that Amazon hosted for its business partners.
By 2025, Indian suppliers should be able to use the initiative to deliver goods worth $ 10 billion abroad via Amazon. Bezos sent unreserved praise for the subcontinent to his announcement: "I love India," he said. "Every time I come here, I feel really alive."
The declaration of love is not returned by everyone. While the Amazon boss was speaking, his opponents were gathering on the streets of New Delhi to protest. One of the demonstrators is Praveen Khandelwal, one of the manager's harshest critics. The general secretary of the trade association CAIT described Amazon in an open letter as an "economic terrorist". His protest banner now reads: "Jeff Bezos, go back!"
Every time I come here I feel really alive. Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon)
CAIT representatives had announced rallies against the three-day visit to Bezos in 300 cities. Their allegations to the head of the group are similar to the criticism Amazon is confronted with around the world: The focus is on Amazon's online marketplace, on which the group offers retailers a platform to sell directly to end customers. According to the company, these third-party providers account for more than half of gross goods sales worldwide.
Again and again there is suspicion that Amazon is exploiting its power as a platform operator for unfair business practices. In July, under pressure from the Federal Cartel Office, the group changed its business conditions with dealers, which were criticized as one-sided.
In the same month, the European Commission initiated an investigation against Amazon to clarify whether the company was using the data from the marketplace transactions in an anti-competitive manner to strengthen its own position as a retailer.
On Monday, India's competition authority CCI also began investigations. It should be checked whether Amazon prefers individual traders on the marketplace to its own advantage without permission. "We are not against e-commerce," said a CAIT representative at a protest in Delhi to journalists. "We just want there to be fair rules of the game."
The investigation of the competition keepers is also directed against Flipkart – Amazon's largest competitor in India, which was taken over by the US retail group Walmart in 2018 for $ 16 billion. Both companies denied any wrongdoing.
Bezos himself did not comment on the allegations on the stage in New Delhi. Instead, he talked about his childhood in rural Texas, his entrepreneurial ambitions in space and his optimism that humanity would come together in the fight against climate change.
He was also carried away by a geopolitical forecast: "The 21st century will be the century of India," said Bezos. Perhaps also with a view to his own ambitions in the country, he added: "The most important alliance will be that between India and America."
More: Resistance against Amazon is growing worldwide. In order to maintain its own dominance, the group could roll down entire industries and markets.
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