Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was greeted with more than less of a lukewarm response on his two-day visit to India to announce the investment of $1 billion to digitize small and medium businesses where he said that in the 21st century, “the most important alliance is going to be the alliance between India and the United States.”
However, not impressed with Amazon’s intervention, small business owners took to the streets with demonstrations being planned across 300 cities said Sumit Agarwal, National Secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
Enough of tolerance! @TEAMCAIT @AimraIndia will fight this battle against foreign economic terrorists & invaders till the very end and bring back peace & prosperity for our 70 million retailers. @narendramodi @rajnathsingh @PiyushGoyal @nsitharaman It’s now time for action! https://t.co/aHpsJJNGt1
— SUMIT AGARWAL (@sumitagarwal_82) January 12, 2020
— SACHIN LAKHOTIYA (@LakhotiyaSachin) January 14, 2020
Traders of @TEAMCAIT accross Uttar Pradesh protesting against Amazon & Jeff Bezos India Visit. #GOBACKBEZOS @praveendel @BCBHARTIA @sumitagarwal_82 @narendramodi @PiyushGoyal @pankajaroraCAIT @nsitharaman @AmitShah @rajnathsingh @JPNadda @PrakashJavdekar @DIPPGOI pic.twitter.com/ukkC8zzBtf
— CAIT (@TEAMCAIT) January 15, 2020
Cos like Amazon that violate FDI norms are not good foreign investors becoz they engage in illegal & unethical business practices. They have repeatedly circumvented the law, burning cash to push small retailers out of the mkt @swadeshimanch
— ASHWANI MAHAJAN (@ashwani_mahajan) January 15, 2020
Protests against the retail giant were held in Delhi, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Pune, Patna, Ahmednagar, Jammu, Chattisgarh and Mumbai among other places. Armed with posters that read “Jeff Bezos Go Back” and “Amazon Go Back” protesters complained that Amazon had used its reputation and global presence to undercut small business on price by offering steep discounts to large sellers, something that small business aren’t in a position to do.
The Competition Commission of India, India’s anti-trust regulator too opened an investigation into Amazon and Flipkart alleging them of predatory pricing, the exclusive launch of products like mobile phones, saying they use their market dominance to price inventory ‘below cost’ giving a trying time to business who in turn find it difficult to compete with such prices.
India is a country of neighborhood or ‘kirana’ stores from where the people of India have been shopping. These ‘mom and pop’ outlets are now increasingly seeing digitization with most of the stores accepting debit cards and online wallet payments to serve customers better. However, with a massive online presence and ease of shopping, websites like Amazon and Flipkart pull customers towards them with low prices, choice and quick delivery.
Amazon claims it has done a lot to empower retailers in India, creating over 60,000 jobs and investing around $5 billion, working with more than half a million sellers in the market place, reports BBC. During this visit, Bezos announced that Amazon would look to export goods worth $10 billion from India by 2025.
However, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal seemingly did not approve of Bezos intentions. A day after Bezos’ announcement, Goyal said, “They may have put in a billion dollars, but if they make a loss of a billion dollars every year, then they jolly well will have to finance those billion dollars. So, it is not as if they are doing a favour to India when they invest a billion dollars.”
Trade bodies hailed Goyal’s mega snub, with members of trade organizations asking the retail giant to follow the laws or exit from the market. However, P Chidambaram, former Finance Minister took a sarcastic dig at Goyal saying that the Commerce Minister should snub Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella next to make India a $5 trillion economy.
Commerce Minister snubbing Amazon’s Jeff Bezos makes for a great headline in the world’s media.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) January 16, 2020