New Delhi: American e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc.’s local unit, which is waging a war to dominate the country’s $15-billion online retail market, is betting on a key resource: the energy and passion of graduates fresh out of college.

Campus hiring has been a top priority for the Jeff Bezos-owned American e-commerce giant in India.

“Each year, we are further encouraged and excited with the discovery of new talent pool across campuses. The experiences reinforce our belief that with suitable nurturing, this young talent pool can make a long-term positive impact to our customers," Raj Raghavan, head of human resources Asia Pacific at Amazon said.

Amazon India hires more than 60% of the students who intern with the company.

“We like their energy, passion, willingness to roll up their sleeves, desire to find an answer when a solution doesn’t exist, ability to dive deep into (a) specific issue and not just stay at a superficial level, and their ability to look at a problem differently, thereby finding a solution that is good for our customers," Raghavan said.

Amazon India, led by Amit Agarwal, is locked in a fierce battle for market share with local rival Flipkart.

Amazon India in 2016-17 recruited 35% more candidates from engineering colleges and 20% more from business schools, compared to the previous year, Raghavan said.

The company hired 400 graduates from engineering colleges in 2015-16, up from 268 in 2014-15 and 274 in 2013-14. Also, 204 MBAs were hired in 2015-16, against 201 in 2014-15 and 149 in 2013-14.

Amazon India declined to disclose 2017 figures.

In June 2016, founder and chief executive Bezos said Amazon will raise its investments in India to $5 billion.

Mobile, cloud computing, machine learning and data analytics are among the tech skills that are in high demand at Amazon India, Raghavan said.

“We are a technology company that is obsessed with customers. So, technology is the backbone of how we do things."

Amazon India is looking to hire for roles such as head of video post production, studio operations lead, digital content merchandiser, video motion designer, security specialist, solution architect, and speech scientist in new roles as it diversifies into newer business verticals like Amazon Videos and Amazon Payments.

In FY18, while the consumer business (Amazon.in) will continue to see growth, Amazon Videos, Amazon Kindle, Fire TV and Amazon Payments will be big verticals for Amazon India, Raghavan said.

Globally, Amazon’s headcount rose 48% to 341,400 in the fourth quarter of 2016 from 230,800 in the same quarter of 2015.

“Our (Amazon India) headcount has witnessed close to 40% growth year-on-year. This year too, we see similar trends," said Raghavan, without sharing absolute numbers.

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