The eCommerce company is reportedly seeking approval from India’s Trade Ministry to invest about $500 million in a grocery venture within the country. According to MarketWatch, Amazon is looking to sell groceries directly to consumers in India from its online platform.
Two government officials confirmed that Amazon’s latest move comes at a time when India’s government has eased restrictions on foreign retailers and deliveries, especially when it comes to local food products.
“We are excited by the government’s continued efforts to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in India for a stronger food supply chain,” an Amazon spokeswoman said. “We have sought an approval to invest and partner with the government in achieving this vision.”
Though the spokeswoman did not provide any details on the actual investment amount, it’s clear that Amazon is on a mission to make big moves in the country’s eCommerce market.
Though things seem to be looking up for Amazon in India, the company had a tough week in the market back in January.
Amazon found itself in the crosshairs of social media (and some diplomatic hot water) for selling two different products that struck a sour chord with the fast-growing Indian market, according to a report.
First, it was the sale of doormats bearing the flag of the nation of well over 1 billion on Amazon’s Canadian website. When the product was discovered last week, India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter to order the online retail giant to immediately stop the sale of the product, threatened to stop issuing and warned of rescinding previously issued visas to Amazon officials if the company didn’t comply.
Amazon quickly pulled the product and apologized.
Not too long after, sandals bearing the visage of Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi drew more consumer ire. Shaktikanta Das, India’s secretary for economic affairs, tweeted: “Amazon, better behave. Desist from being flippant about Indian symbols & icons. Indifference will be at your own peril.” Again, the items were soon pulled from the retail giant’s website.
Such a quick response to consumer criticism highlights India’s high importance for Amazon. The online retail giant has invested billions of dollars in the past few years to establish and strengthen its hold on the nation’s fast-growing online retail market.