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Amazon Once Again Attracts Critics In India

Image via Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Earlier this year Amazon founder Jeff Bezos traveled to India for Amazon's Smbhav, which is an annual event the company holds to help it connect with millions of small and mid-sized businesses in the country.

Bezos was welcomed to the country by thousands of protesters across 300 cities as they showed their displeasure with Amazon's business practices.

"Amazon is trying to create false propaganda that it is the true friend of traders, though it is the worst enemy," the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a statement. Sumit Agarwal, the National Secretary of the CAIT, called Bezos an "economic terrorist" and said Amazon will "destroy small retailers."

Amazon launched last week an online pharmacy in Bangalore in its latest move into the world's second-most populous country. The move follows Amazon's moves into food delivery service and auto-insurance in India in recent months.

Amazon said Amazon Pharmacy has already taken orders for both over-the-counter and prescription-based medicines since its launch. The service will also sell healthcare devices such as glucometers and blood pressure monitors as well as traditional herbal medicines.

"This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home," an Amazon spokesperson said.

However, Amazon has once again been met with resistance in the country following the launch of Amazon Pharmacy. The All India Organization of Chemists & Druggists, which represents hundreds of thousands of retail pharmacies and distributors, sent a letter to Bezos and Amazon India executive Amit Agarwal.

"We are writing to you as we came to know that www.amazon.com has decided to enter ‘Online Pharmacy’ space, probably oblivious to the fact that the E-Pharmacies are illegal and not recognized by the laws under Drug & Cosmetic Act & Rules there under," the letter read.

"We will not give up," a representative of the group said. "We will fight (Amazon) tooth and nail."

Amazon continues to pour money into India as it competes with Walmart's Flipkart and Reliance Retail, which is India's largest retail chain and which Amazon has reportedly held preliminary talks to acquire a 9.9% stake in.

With 90% of Amazon's revenues from the U.S., Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan, it's clear why they're trying so hard to gain a foothold in India. As the company continues its aggressive push into the country, expect the pushback from locals to continue.

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