Amazon: India will be our fastest market to $1-billion milestone

Written by Anand J | Updated: Jul 31 2014, 13:20pm hrs
AmazonAmazon has upped the ante once again by announcing $2-bn investment for India. (Reuters)
The $75-billion e-commerce giant Amazon has upped the ante once again by announcing a $2-billion investment for India as it looks to take the top position in the rapidly growing market. The company said it will cross $1 billion in revenues from India, and the country is one of its fastest growing markets globally. Amit Agarwal, vice-president and country manager, Amazon India, tells Anand J about his plans to accelerate investments in the country. Excerpts:

In what areas will you invest the $2 billion Is there a timeline

To put this in context, we started a little over a year ago. From day one, our ambition has been to be the most customer-centric company in the country. We have been investing very aggressively here. We won't settle for anything less than being the leader in providing the best online shopping experience.

Our three pillars are: to offer the largest portfolio of products, to make them available at the cheapest possible rates and to ensure a fast delivery experience. Our selection has grown to 17 million products and in most categories, we are the largest. Our seller base has grown by more than 85 times. Our guarantee for delivery has moved from two-day to one-day to same-day over the past 12 months.

More than three lakh products are eligible for next-day guarantee service now. We will continue to invest in these three areas and will do whatever it takes. We will not be conservative at all in achieving the leadership position. We won't put a timeline for that.

We also announced five new fulfilment centres this week. With the rapid growth we have seen, we expect to accelerate our investments.

Is the warehouse investment part of this $2 billion How much have you invested so far

We won't disclose that. $2 billion is a large sum of money. We have never shied away from being aggressive in the last 12 months. The reason we felt this was a good time to share this number was the phenomenal growth we have seen over the past year. That gives us the confidence that our strategy is working. This also shows our intent to be ambitious.

When do you think you will reach $1-billion sales Flipkart did that in March.

We cannot share the timeline. It has just been 12 months and what we are seeing is never-seen-before growth rate across business. Going by the track record, India is going to be Amazon's fastest-ever market to reach the $1-billion milestone. This indicates very rapid growth. In many dimensions that customers care about, such as selection, convenience and delivery speed, we are just getting started and these are early days. We have seen phenomenal growth in a short period of time. We need to have a long-term outlook and India is no different for us.

This announcement comes a day after Flipkarts announcement. And it is double the amount.

Maybe you should ask other players. I will maintain that we are investing aggressively and these decisions arent taken overnight.

Are you going to invest in expanding to semi-urban and rural areas

We are investing in enhancing the experience and the mobile platform. Our mobile traffic has increased to 25% in 12 months. Our mission and strategy is exactly the same as we have done everywhere else.