Concluding his three-day visit to India, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos met top business leaders of India in Mumbai on Friday. Industrialists that Bezos met included Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar, Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej, among others.
According to a PTI report, the meeting included top bosses across industries. Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel, Infosys CEO Salil Parekh, HSBC's Surendra Rosha, Zarin Daruwala, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Xiaomi's India Head Manu Jain, Bank of America's Kaku Nakhate were among the business leaders that were present at the meeting that took place in a hotel in South Mumbai.
From the FMCG industry, Bezos met Kishore Biyani, Chairman of Future Group, Hindustan Unilever's Sanjiv Mehta, Nestle India's Suresh Narayanan and Proctor and Gamble India's Madhusudhan Gopalan. Biyani and Bezos have a long-standing relationship, given Amazon has invested in this FMCG major.
Among the startup and internet businesses, Ola co-founder Bhavish Agarwal and head of Amazon in India, Amit Agarwal were also present.
During the meeting, Bezos reportedly discussed prospects of growth in the consumer space through partnerships across sectors.
According to a report in the Economic Times, topics of discussion also included growth challenges for businesses in the country, tackling the country’s current challenging economic situations and ways to boost growth and the overall consumer environment.
Some discussions also revolved around data localisation and privacy, technology-enabled changes and ‘opportunities to foster global alliances, entrepreneurship and leadership’, ET reported.
One of the CEOs at the event told ET that they spoke about the disruptive nature of technology and ‘how leaders needed to be engaged and involved to use it as a growth enabler’.
This meet interestingly comes after the Economic Times report said that several business leaders in the country were unhappy and offended with Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal’s snub at Amazon. Goyal said that 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.
However, Goyal clarified on Friday that his statement on Amazon was misconstrued and that the government welcomes all investments within regulations.
Bezos arrived in India on Tuesday where he visited the Rajghat in New Delhi. The next day, he attended a major Amazon event for small businesses. This was followed by his visit to Mumbai where he was present at a Prime Video event along with several Bollywood celebrities.
During the India visit, Bezos announced investments of $1 billion to help bring over 10 million SMBs online. He also announced that Amazon will create 1 million new jobs in India by 2025.
During the Prime Video event, he announced that Amazon will 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.
However, while there were reports that he would be meeting PM Modi, that did not happen. 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.