For a fleeting moment, Amit Agarwal felt that his conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had all the trappings of an ‘Amazon meeting.’
“It was a great moment to meet Prime Minister Modi (in June) along with our CEO Andy Jassy. The Prime Minister said ‘I know you care about fast delivery at low cost.’ I waited to see if it was Andy (Jassy) who was talking but it was the Prime Minister,” Agarwal, Amazon’s SVP for India and Emerging Markets, says in an exclusive interview with Minari Shah, Director, International – Owned Content & Channels, Amazon.
Jassy and Agarwal had met Prime Minister Modi in June when the latter was on his first state visit to the U.S. In the closed-door meeting, the three leaders spoke about supporting Indian startups, creating jobs, enabling exports, and empowering Indian MSMEs to compete globally.
Amazon to invest $15B more in India
It was very exciting to hear PM Modi’s thoughts on the significance of digitisation, startups and how exports play such a big role in his economic vision.
During the conversation with PM Modi, Amazon also committed to invest an additional $15 billion in India over the next 7 years, taking the company's total India investment across all businesses to $26 billion. So far, Amazon has digitised over 6.2 million MSMEs, enabled nearly $8 billion in exports, and created 1.3 million+ jobs in India since inception.
10 years of transformation
Amazon.in’s ride of being #IndiaKiApniDukaan, which started 10 years ago, closely mirrors India’s digitisation journey. “I have had the privilege of working for Amazon in many capital cities of the world. The transformation that is happening here (in India) has the attention of the rest of the world,” Russell Grandinetti, SVP, International Stores Business, Amazon, said in the interview with About Amazon’s Minari Shah.
If I think back about where we were in 2016 and I had to explain to someone that India is going to introduce digital transactions that transform payments with UPI, it would have seemed a little magical.
Also, the Government of India has been progressively digitising its interface with citizens and making it easier to get licenses, certificates and do payment of taxes, bringing efficiency in governance outcomes.
4 major announcements to empower MSMEs, propel exports
One of the key takeaways from Jassy and Agarwal’s meeting with PM Modi was exploring how Amazon could use more of India’s logistics infrastructure—from postal services to railways—for e-commerce. Cut to August 31, 2023: Amazon announced fresh engagements at Amazon Smbhav 2023 with Indian Railways' Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFC) for faster movement of customer packages and an expansion of its partnership with India Post for simplifying cross-border logistics for e-commerce exporters. These announcements take Amazon closer to fulfilling its pledges—digitise 10 million MSMEs, generate $20 billion in cumulative e-commerce exports and create 2 million jobs in India by 2025.
Policy and Big Tech
There’s a growing intersection between policy and business around the world, especially in the context of big tech companies. Grandinetti welcomes the scrutiny and views this as a ‘privilege’ given Amazon’s success in empowering small businesses and customers across the world.
On a lighter note, Grandinetti and Agarwal also speak about a cool startup idea that each would like to pursue and a movie they’d like to watch with small businesses owners!
Watch the full interview now.