Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez have posed in front of the iconic Taj Mahal on their tour of India.
Bezos, who unveiled a fleet of electric delivery rickshaws yesterday, stood with Sanchez in front of the reflecting pool which leads to the 338-year-old mausoleum in Agra on Tuesday.
The richest man in the world last week announced a $1billion investment program for the country at a conference in New Delhi, rubbed shoulders with Bollywood stars and flew kites with local youths.
But he faced furious protests the day after his arrival by street traders who claim the e-commerce giant is destroying their livelihoods. They waved placards saying ‘Jeff Bezos, Go back.’
After arriving Tuesday, Bezos paid tribute to India’s independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, dressing in an Indian kurta to lay flowers at a memorial in Delhi.
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Jeff Bezos and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez in front of the reflecting pool which leads to the 338-year-old mausoleum, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India on Tuesday
Bezos wore a linen suit while Sanchez wore a peach and cream dress in front of the reflecting pool at the Taj Mahal on Tuesday
Bezos and Sanchez then appeared at a party in Mumbai two days later alongside actors and actresses from India’s colossal film industry.
Later on Thursday, Bezos posted video onto his Instagram account showing him flying a kite alongside Indian teens.
‘Any day is a good day when you get to fly a kite,’ Bezos wrote in the caption.
He ended the caption with the hashtag #ThankYouIndia.
Yesterday, Bezos unveiled his new fleet of electric rickshaws for deliveries.
‘Hey, India.’ Bezos wrote on Instagram. ‘We’re rolling out our new fleet of electric delivery rickshaws. Fully electric. Zero carbon. #ClimatePledge.’
Bezos unveiled a fleet of electric delivery rickshaws on his Instagram page yesterday with a fun video in which he hopped inside one of the vehicles. He wrote: ‘Hey, India. We’re rolling out our new fleet of electric delivery rickshaws. Fully electric. Zero carbon. #ClimatePledge’
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (right) and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez (left), pose for photographs during an event at a hotel in Mumbai last Thursday
Bezos last Thursday took part in a fireside chat with Bollywood celebrities (pictured with Sanchez). The day before he faced furious protests by street traders who claim the e-commerce giant is destroying their livelihoods
Sumit Agarwal, national secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders, said: ‘We are not against e-commerce.
‘We just want the commission and the government to set up a fair and equitable playing field where the Amazons and Flipkarts cannot abuse the system with unfair subsidies and their favored traders.’
Flipkart is an Indian e-commerce giant. Last fiscal year, it generated an estimated $6billion.
In August 2018, American retailer Walmart purchased a 77 per cent stake in the firm for an estimated $16billion.
The Competition Commission of India announced Monday that it was investigating both Amazon and Flipkart over accusations they undermine traditional traders by favoring ‘preferred sellers’ on their platforms.
Bezos says he wants to help small and medium sized businesses in India to digitize.
‘We will use our global footprint to export $10billion worth of ‘Made in India’ products across the world by 2025,’ he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to boost national production.
Bezos on Tuesday visited the Raj Ghat Mahatma Gandhi Memorial. His three-day trip to the country has been hit with controversy and protests
Bezos high-fives a young Indian girl in the video, which was apparently filmed in Delhi
Bezos highlighted India’s growing importance, saying ‘the 21st century will be the Indian century’ and that the US-India alliance will be the most important.
Amazon and Flipkart face increasing scrutiny and resentment despite their popularity among customers.
Media reports said Bezos has sought a meeting with Modi, but neither the government nor Amazon would confirm if talks would be held.
Amazon has said it will cooperate with the competition commission investigation and was ‘confident’ it was operating legally.
The commission, which last year fined Google $21million for abusing its dominant position, said it will report in 60 days, but its inquiries normally take a lot longer.
The Hindu nationalist government is to announce a new e-commerce policy by March, and is under pressure to help small businesses because of a slowdown in the economy and high unemployment.
Bezos, who is on a three-day visit, said he wanted to help small and medium sized businesses in India to digitalize
Traders claim Amazon and other online shopping platforms are destroying their livelihoods
The merchants accuse Amazon and Flipkart of flouting India’s tough foreign investment rules and pouring billions of dollars into discounts that harm traditional traders.
Agarwal highlighted special deals with mobile phone makers under which they are sold online, often at discount, before they reach high street shops.
He said 55,000 of the 100,000 small traders who have gone out of business in the past six months – when Amazon and Flipkart have fought a merciless price cutting war – were mobile phone sellers.