Amazon Exec: India Should Loosen eCommerce Regs

A senior Amazon executive believes India needs to do more to encourage eCommerce in the country.

Amazon’s India head Amit Agarwal told Reuters that if the country were to reduce red tape, it would help small businesses sell online and export more goods to help boost India’s economic growth.

“There is so much opportunity to just let eCommerce thrive versus trying to define every single guard rail under which it should operate,”  Agarwal said before the launch of Amazon’s biggest campus in the world in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, on Wednesday (August 21).

Ever since India revised its eCommerce rules earlier this year, Amazon and rival Flipkart have found it more difficult to do business in the country.

“I feel eCommerce can actually accelerate India’s economy in a big way, if it’s just allowed to thrive,” said Agarwal, who revealed that the eCommerce giant works with around 500,000 sellers, and has created over 200,000 jobs since launching in India in 2013. In addition, the company is responsible for more than $1 billion in exports and expects this to exceed $5 billion in the next three years. However, he admits that red tape is holding some businesses back from reaching their full potential.

“Even a seller, who wants to sell out of their state, has to get a tax registration in the new state. How many small business owners would go through the onerous job of doing that?” he said.

“The number of basic paper cut opportunities out there are so many,” he added. “I feel we’re getting lost in the high-level debate around eCommerce and data localization.”

Amazon’s new campus in India, which spans more than 9.5 acres, cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars and could house more than 15,000 employees. Amazon currently has 62,000 employees in India, with around one-third of them based in Hyderabad.