Amazon to go all out in 2017, up India investments

Amazon is planning to ramp up its investment in India in the new year as it continues to take on home-grown e-commerce players Flipkart and Snapdeal.

Amit Agarwal, Amazon's India chief, in an interview with The Economic Times said the firm "will demonstrate massive scale in 2017," investing heavily in technology, infrastructure and innovation.

On Tuesday, Amazon Inc infused fresh capital into its India unit, Amazon Seller Services, taking the firm's total investment in the entity over the past 12 months to over Rs 7,000 crore.

The investment comes at a time when Amazon is reportedly losing Rs 600 crore a month, and is said to have spent nearly $1 billion this year in its fight against Flipkart.

The Economic Times reported that Amazon has seen its seller base grow by 160% to 140,000 in 2016 and is adding 180,000 products per day. In September, it was reported that Amazon had 120,000 sellers on its platform.

Amazon Inc, which entered India in 2013, invested $2 billion in India operations in 2014 and in June this year, Jeff Bezos, its founder and chief executive, put in an additional $3 billion, taking the total investment in the country to $5 billion.

Amazon is deepening its India play, going beyond e-commerce. It recently ventured into the beauty services segment, launched a video streaming service, Amazon Video Prime India and even introduced a programme for startups, Launchpad, to market their products to Amazon customers across the country.

In an interview with Mint, Agarwal said that his firm always complies with whatever rules the government sets out and is equipped to handle any issues arising out of protectionism. Agarwal's comments come in the wake of the 'protectionist calls' made by Flipkart and Ola founders, Sachin Bansal and Bhavish Aggarwal.

Earlier this month, the duo commented on the lack of a level playing field in the Indian startup ecosystem, taking on their rivals Amazon and Uber, even though they didn't mention names.