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Amazon marks great progress in India, will continue to invest

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Amazon has said it will continue to invest in India as it sees ‘great progress’ with both sellers and customers here even as the US e-tailing giant registered a loss of US$ 622 million from international operations in the first quarter of 2018. The operating loss from the international operations, which also includes Indian market, was at US$ 481 million in the year-ago period. The net sales in the international business however grew to US$ 14.8 billion as compared to US$ 11.06 billion.

“We will continue to invest in India where we are seeing great progress with both sellers and customers. And we like the momentum we have seen there,” Amazon Senior VP and CFO Brian Olsavsky said in an investor call. He added that under the Amazon Prime programme in India, the company is adding local video content. “We are also adding other benefits, Prime benefits. We are rolling out devices there, and we are seeing Indian developers developing skills for Alexa,” he said. Last year, Amazon introduced ‘Alexa’ in the India market.

It had launched Amazon Prime in India in 2016. On consolidated basis (including international, North America and Amazon Web Services), Amazon registered profit at nearly US$ 1.6 billion in the said quarter compared to US$ 724 million in the year-ago period. The Seattle-based firm posted 43 per cent rise in net sales to US$ 51 billion in the first quarter, compared with US$ 35.7 billion in the March 2017 quarter. Amazon has pumped in billions of dollars into its Indian operations, where it is locked in an intense battle with local rival Flipkart. Flipkart is said to be in discussion with Walmart with the US-based company looking at picking up majority stake.

The deal, if it goes through, would unlock the booming Indian e-commerce market for the world’s largest offline retailer. For Flipkart, it would provide more arsenal to go up against Amazon in the India market. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has committed investments to the tune of US$ 5 billion for the Indian market. Last year alone, Amazon pumped in over Rs 2,000 crore in its various units in India. These investments have been directed towards building warehouses, strengthening logistics and increasing product assortment. Amazon is also investing significant money in marketing and promotions as the company looks to bring more consumers to shopping online on its platform.

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