Jeff Bezos is visiting India amid protests and a government investigation into Amazon — here’s what his trip has been like so far

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Amazon's India Chief, Amit Agarwal.

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s India Chief, Amit Agarwal.
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Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters
  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos visited India this week for the first time in more than five years.
  • Bezos has been out and about, flying kites with kids, visiting Mahatma Gandhi’s tomb, and dressing in Indian clothing.
  • But his visit has also been controversial: shortly before he arrived, India’s antitrust regulators opened an investigation into Amazon, and business owners have been protesting Bezos and Amazon.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jeff Bezos has had a busy week.

The Amazon CEO visited India this week for the first time in more than five years, meeting with business leaders, paying his respects at Mahatma Gandhi’s tomb, and even flying a kite.

In the process, he announced that Amazon would be investing $1 billion in India, helping small business owners digitize their operations.

But Bezos’ visit has been controversial: shortly before he arrived, India’s antitrust regulators opened an investigation into Amazon. And business owners in 300 Indian cities have been protesting Bezos and Amazon, carrying signs that say “Jeff Bezos go back!”

India is an important market for Amazon. The company has been battling it out for market share with Indian ecommerce platform Flipkart, and so far, Flipkart is winning, if only by a slim margin: As of 2018, the company had 31.9% of India’s market share, versus Amazon with 31.2%, according to Forrester data cited by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Here’s a look at Bezos’ visit so far.


Bezos began his trip with a visit to the tomb of Mahatma Gandhi. “Spent a beautiful afternoon paying my respects to someone who truly changed the world,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram video of the visit.


Bezos got to relax a bit with some school children, even successfully flying a kite. “I haven’t flown a kite in a long time,” he said to one of the kids. “It brings back memories.” He offered high fives all around after it was over.


Bezos has dressed in Indian clothing throughout his visit so far. While flying kites, he dressed in a kurta and wore his signature Garrett Leight sunglasses. While the designer doesn’t appear to sell Bezos’ exact pair anymore, a similar option retails for $395.

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Here’s Bezos when he debuted the sunglasses in 2017.
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Getty

Source: Garrett Leight


For the visit to Ghandi’s tomb, Bezos donned a Nehru vest. It’s the same type of piece he wore during a fireside chat with Amazon’s India Chief, Amit Agarwal. Bezos said during the talk that it was given to him by one of the small business owners outside the event.

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Jeff Bezos.
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REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

Source: Bloomberg Quint


Bezos announced during the talk that Amazon would be investing $1 billion in digitizing India’s small- and medium-sized businesses. By 2025, Amazon aims to export $10 billion worth of goods from India, he said.

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Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Bezos’ India visit hasn’t been without controversy, however. Right before he arrived, India’s antitrust body opened an investigation into Amazon’s business practices after small traders complained about how much power the company has over the market. The regulators are investigating Indian e-commerce company Flipkart as well.

Source: The New York Times


And Bezos’ presence in India has attracted protests from Indians who say Amazon is undercutting business owners in price, subsequently driving them out of business. The Confederation of All India Traders has gone as far as to describe Bezos as an “economic terrorist.”

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Members of the Confederation of All India Traders hold placards during a protest against the visit of Jeff Bezos.
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REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Source: Bloomberg, Business Insider


Still, Bezos expressed optimism for Amazon’s business in the country, and said he thinks in the 21st century, “the most important alliance is going to be the alliance between India and the United States, the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy.”


On Wednesday night, Bezos and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez got dressed up to attend an Amazon Prime Video event in Mumbai.

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Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

Source: TMZ


Bezos grabbed a photo with Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and director Zoya Akhtar …


… and he even tried his hand at learning Hindi — Khan had him recite a famous line from the film “Don.”

Source: NDTV