SoftBank and Alibaba have pumped close to $2 billion into Paytm lately while India’s original online retailer, Flipkart, won the backing of prestigious trio Microsoft, eBay and China’s Tencent via a recent $1.4 billion investment. Despite those developments, the Amazon supremo is undeterred on project India for Amazon.
Bezos went public with his continued commitment to the country in a tweet that followed a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington.
The prize on offer is a slice of one of the world’s fastest growing internet markets. India’s online population is tipped to reach 450 million-465 million people by June 2017, according to a report co-authored by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, thereby widening the audience of e-commerce customers. China and the U.S. currently dominate global e-commerce spending, but the value of online sales in India is predicted to rise to $48 billion by 2020, analyst firm Forrester has forecast.
Exact data on who is leading the market right now is both hard to come by and difficult to trust, but Amazon is widely thought to have gained ground on India’s local e-commerce players since it landed in the country four years ago. Last summer, Bezos pledged to invest $3 billion to grow the Amazon India business, having put an initial $2 billion into it back in 2014, and there could yet be more money soon.
Speaking back in April, when he claimed his firm had become India’s top e-commerce player, Bezos hinted that more capital would be supplied to develop the Indian business. This tweet is another indicator that it could come soon.
There are certainly plenty of signs that Amazon is in the mood to invest in areas where it can grow.
Aside from the recent bid to buy Whole Foods in the U.S. for a cool $13.7 billion, Amazon has expanded to the Middle East via a deal to buy Souq.com — which sources peg at around $650 million — and made plans to move into Australia. It also laid the groundwork to bring its service to Southeast Asia, although that plan has been postponed to later this year.
In India itself, Amazon has gone beyond the basics, too. It introduced its Prime service last year, although that initially launched without the video service component. That was soon rectified the following December, when Prime Video went global and expanded its reach to over 200 countries.