Amazon's global CEO Jeff Bezos says Amazon Prime Video is performing in India brilliantly, adding that they have decided to double down the investment for the streaming service in the country.
"It's working great. The number of hours Prime Video is watched in India in the last two years has grown by six times. Prime Video is working well all over the world, and there is no place it is doing better than in India. It's incredible," Bezos said when asked by actor Shah Rukh Khan and Zoya Akhtar about the performance of the streaming giant in India at a starry event in Mumbai.
"It's good in terms of business as well. We also like the business results because it drives people to join Prime, and once they join, they enjoy the fast shipping service, so they also buy a lot of products from us. So, it's a vehicle to make fantastic content, from the business point of view, as well. We have actually just made a decision to double down our Prime Video investments here in India," he added.
Answering SRK on what changes he has seen in India in his various visits over the years, Bezos said that he has been visiting India for 11 years.
"There are no perceptible changes of any great magnitude. I noticed there are certain things that seem to me to be the same. And I love those things, one of the things I notice every time I come here is that there's so much energy here and dynamism," he added.
From drama, crime, suspense to thriller, Amazon Prime will be coming with diverse projects this year. Filmmaker Kabir Khan's "The Forgotten Army: Azaadi Ke Liye", Abhishek Bachchan's "Breathe 2", musical "Bandish Bandits", Manoj Bajpayee's "The Family Man 2" and Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Rasika Duggal's "Mirzapur 2" are some of the projects in the pipeline.
When Shah Rukh asked Bezos when was the last time he visited a grocery store, he responded: "I visited a small 'kirana' store today. It was an incredible experience."
Bezos, who is ranked amongst top most global billionaires, was on a three-day India visit starting from Tuesday.
In a major announcement showing Amazon's support for Indian MSMEs, Bezos said that the company would invest $1 billion in digitising small and medium businesses (SMBs) on its platform in the country. He said that the 21st century will be the century of India.
"I predict that the 21st century is going to be the Indian century," he said, adding that apart from the dynamism it has, India is a democracy which is a major characteristic of the country.
Along with business, he is taking time out to explore the country. He paid homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat, and showed off his kite-flying skills on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
However, Bezos didnâ€™t receive a warm welcome from the traders in the country who held nation-wide protests on January 15 when he was in Delhi. PM Narendra Modi and Piyush Goyal too, didnâ€™t give Bezos an audience, despite seeking an appointment.
It has been speculated that both Goyal and PM Modi were not meeting Bezos not just because Amazon faces protests from traders in India, but also because the government was unhappy with the Washington Post's criticism of the government. Bezos is the main investor of Washington Post.
Making matters worse, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said Amazon was not doing a favour to the country by the investments and questioned how the online retailing major could incur such "big" losses but for its predatory pricing.