Amazon’s pledge to invest a further $1 billion in India has been snubbed by the country’s trade minister as tensions continue to grow.
Earlier this week Jeff Bezos appeared on stage with the head of Amazon’s Indian operations Amit Agarwal at its own Smbhav event in New Delhi in a bid to ease growing backlash against its operations in the country, while pledging to invest a further $1 billion to bring small Indian businesses online.
However, Bezos’ gesture has seemingly done little to quell hostility towards Amazon in the region, with India’s trade minister Piyush Goyal stating “it’s not as if they are doing a great favour to India when they invest a billion dollars.”
Amazon and its US rival Walmart, both of which have been scrambling to get a foothold in the emerging Indian market, have been widely criticised by local brick-and-mortar retailers who accuse them of purposefully making losses to undercut local traders’ prices.
“They may have put in a billion dollars but then if they make a loss of a billion dollars every year then they jolly well have to finance that billion dollars,” Goyal said.
Amazon’s Indian operations made a loss of 56.85 billion rupees (£610 million) in its last fiscal year according to the Economic Times.
“How can a marketplace make such a big loss, unless they are indulging in predatory pricing or some unfair trade practices? These are real questions that need answers,” Goyal continued.
During Bezos appearance this week The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents more than 40,000 trade associations and a whopping 70 million traders, hosted massive protests across 300 cities calling for Amazon to “go back”.
Despite numerous requests by Amazon, it is understood to be unlikely that Bezos will meet with the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.