Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos' Remarks at the Council's 41st Annual Leadership Summit

Jeff Bezos

Thank you, Prime Minister Modi. It is an honor to share the stage with you and to accept this award from USIBC. The timing of your visit to the United States presents a very happy coincidence: Three years ago yesterday, we launched our marketplace, This is only the beginning and, as we say at Amazon, it’s still only Day 1 in India.

This award really is a recognition of the efforts of our 45,000 employees in India, who have made the country the fastest growing geography for Amazon. It is also a recognition of how the lives of millions of Indians are being transformed by the adoption of technology and the use of e-commerce. We see our business as closely integrated and contributing to the success of Prime Minister Modi’s own programs - Digital India, Skill India, Startup India and Make in India – which are supporting India’s growth.

Today, we operate an e-commerce marketplace that sells over 55 million products from 85,000 sellers - traditional Indian retailers and small businesses make up a majority of them. E-commerce enables “Digital India” by helping more traders go online and sell to a larger customer base. 41-year-old Keyuri Goshar, a teacher for 20 years, wanted to start her own business. She started Beyond Toys and Gifts, selling toys and books on from her house in Mumbai with little knowledge of computers. Our teams helped her understand online selling and today her revenues are over $200,000 a month. We have also witnessed increasing e-commerce adoption across rural India. This growth is motivating more Indians to buy and sell online, enabling infrastructure creation and helping to build skills. We are leveraging e-commerce to teach new skills and contributing to the ‘Skill India’ initiative. Kamalamma, a 50-year-old widow who runs a small store in Bangalore selling bags, enrolled her store in Amazon’s pickup and delivery network and doubled her income to $500 a month in just a few months.

There are 9000 such entrepreneurs in the country who run pick-up points for us. Our investments in India have created jobs, helped ancillary industries such as packaging, transportation and logistics and our technology has improved supply chain infrastructure. We have built 21 fulfilment centers with nearly 5 million cubic feet of storage space, and partnered with India Post -- this has enabled us to reach all serviceable pin codes across the country and contributed to India Post’s growth. Soon, India will also be home to our largest software engineering and development center outside of the US, located in Hyderabad, which will provide jobs and career development for thousands of developers.

An ambitious program such as ‘Startup India’ needs the power of technology to help it grow. We are excited to announce that we will open an Amazon Web Services cloud region in India this year. Our investments will not only support ‘Startup India’ but will help to accelerate India’s role as a hub for innovation and digital entrepreneurship. Over time a significant number of new jobs will be created because deployment of Amazon cloud services makes Indian businesses nimbler, more efficient and global.

But we’ve barely scratched the surface of this vast nation, its potential and its immense value to the global economy. Close to 8,000 Indian businesses are selling directly to customers in the US and Europe from our website. 5,000 Indian businesses participated in record breaking Black Friday sales last year. ‘Make in India’ and sell to the world is turning into a reality. For people like Nadeem Saiyad, who owns a company called Standard Leather in Mumbai, earning $3500 a month, and selling leather jackets in the US would have been unimaginable during his days as a leather workshop worker. In addition, big Indian brands such as Organic India and Himalaya have seen significant sales growth and a global stage to directly connect with customers.

I am pleased to announce today that Amazon will invest an additional US$3 billion on top of the US$2B investment that we announced in 2014, bringing our total committed investment in India to over US $5 billion. This additional investment will support our rapid growth and continue to enhance our customer and seller experience in India. Prime Minister Modi, thank you for recognizing our efforts in India.