Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, the US online retailing giant, says he’s very happy with his team in India. And, that the market here and that in China are very different.
In a conversation at the US technology website Recode’s Code Conference, he said investors in this country initially had a feeling that India’s e-commerce story would go the China way. “They’ve found out that it hasn’t. Our team in India has just done an unbelievable job,” said Bezos.
Amazon lost to local competitor Alibaba in China and says it doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes it did there. In India, it has taken an ‘open cheque’ policy, investing over $2 billion (Rs 13,500 crore) to grow its business and trying to innovate to score over local players Flipkart and Snapdeal. The internal challenges both the latter face, largely due to lack of fiscal discipline and business mistakes, is helping Amazon gain market share.
While not spelling out the differences between the Indian and Chinese markets, Bezos said “There are bunch of reasons why it is different. It’s not one thing; it’s probably 50 little things.” Local market customisation, he said, was far more important in India than in China.
Amazon is estimated to be a third of the size of market leader Flipkart but has reached this point from scratch in under three years. Pressure from Amazon sent Flipkart and Snapdeal into a discounting frenzy, with the three companies posting a combined loss of Rs 7,000 crore in 2015.
Applauding his team in India, Bezos said he’d instructed them to be speedy with growth and engineering changes, and they had delivered. “I asked them to be fast-acting cowboys, instead of calm clear-headed computer scientists. They took those instructions and have done an amazing job.”