NEW DELHI :
Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos, who will be in India this week, is all set for an entertaining evening in Mumbai on Thursday. While the Amazon India team is extremely guarded about his travel schedule and meetings with government officials, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people in the know said the American entrepreneur will participate in a fireside chat with key Bollywood celebrities to discuss the future of entertainment and share his own life journey at a posh hotel in Mumbai. Music composer A R Rahman will perform at the event.
The online retailer is also hosting a two-day event in the capital, starting 15 January, during his visit. Although the company has not confirmed Bezos’s presence at the event, Amazon India’s country manager Amit Agarwal will speak at the meet which is bringing its sellers together. Other industry stalwarts speaking at the event include Kishore Biyani, chairman of Future Group, Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy and Ogilvy’s executive chairman India, Piyush Pandey. Titled Smbhav, the event is aimed at engaging the small and medium businesses and encourage them to use Amazon’s products, services and platforms.
During his India visit, the American billionaire who founded Amazon in 1994, is expected to face heat from several trader and retailer associations in India. Nearly 5,00,000 traders are expected to hold protests in over 300 locations in India on 15 January, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said on Sunday. Scores of traders' associations, small retailers, distributors, and mobile phone shop owners are agitating against hefty discounts given by e-retailers such as Amazon and prompting them to comply with FDI guidelines.
On Monday, the Competition Commission of India also an investigation into alleged competition law violations by Amazon.com Inc and Walmart's Flipkart.
Bezos visit to India comes at a time when Amazon Prime Video, the streaming platform owned by the American company, is more than three years old in the country and has garnered approximately 13 million monthly active users, according to RedSeer, a Bengaluru based research and consulting firm.
In contrast to arch rival Netflix that has focused on relatively niche, experimental content, Amazon has acquired big-ticket blockbusters (its library includes titles like War, Gully Boy, Padmaavat, Raazi, Bharat, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Sultan and others) especially through its long-term partnerships with Bollywood production houses such as Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and Yash Raj Films. The service that is targeting mass, pan-Indian audiences currently offers content in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi and Gujarati and user interface in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It is also priced much lower than Netflix—Rs. 999 for a year, bundled with music and retail benefits.