Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos pledged $1 billion Wednesday to help digitize small- and medium-sized businesses in India.
At an annual Amazon-sponsored "Smbhav" event in New Delhi, Bezos said his company plans to export $10 billion in India-made goods by 2025. The two-day gathering seeks to connect Amazon's shipping capabilities with India businesses. The retailer said more than 550,000 sellers and 60,000 manufacturers in India are on Amazon's India marketplace.
The billion-dollar pledge is expected to increase worldwide sales of Indian-made products and spawn millions of new small businesses online.
"I predict the 21st century is going to be the Indian century," Bezos said. "The dynamism, the energy; this country has something special.
"The most important alliance is going to be the alliance between India and the United States, the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy."
Bezos' visit came amid an investigation by India's Competition Commission, a government watchdog examining Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart over concerns about their product discounts and exclusive brand launches -- which critics fear will drive away local business.
A New Delhi trade organization said agreements between the companies and India mobile phone carriers amount to preferential treatment, which is barred by India's foreign investment policies.
The watchdog is expected to finish its investigation by March, and has the power to levy significant fines.
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