It’s been rumored for long, but finally Amazon.com announced its entry to the Indian online retail market, which is expected to be $10 billion. Their business model is, however, not the same as what many of you know. Due to the current Indian Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulation on the multi-brand retailers, what Amazon does in India is just to aggregate the online shopping catalogs, introducing the best sellers to the users. That’s it. There is no Shopping Cart, 1-Click, List Mania, Recommendation, or Kindle Store. I would not say it’s not disappointing. But let’s keep hope high as a change of the FDI regulation has been proposed and discussed (and shelved for the moment, though.)
Whatever the future of Amazon in India, there has been a long history between them. Let’s take a brief look.
Amazon of the Jungle
Another significant difference in its business model is the brand name. They don’t call themselves Amazon. They are operating under the domain name Junglee.com, whose local online shopping business Amazon bought in 1998. In Hindi, ‘Junglee’ means ‘of the jungle,’ which might have reminded Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, of the same scenery he had imagined in 1994.
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, named his company after the Amazon in South America, one of the world largest rivers, wishing his company becomes the world largest e-commerce platform. The Amazon River starts from the thick jungle where Peru and Brazil border, runs through the world largest (and fastest shrinking) rain forest, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean at the south of the high region called the Guianas.
Indians in Amazon
Heading to this region along the Amazon river, many Indians traveled halfway around the earth in nineteenth century, per British Empire’s colony management plan. With many hardships, these immigrants eventually assimilated to the local environment. Today, surprising 43% of the population of Co-operative Republic of Guyana is Indian origin and Hindu is the second largest religion in the country. They are the first Indians working in Amazon.
Here Starts the River
Fast forwarding to the twenty-first century, now Indians are working in Amazon – in India. There are three development centers, one customer relationship office, and one new fulfillment center to be build. For example, Amazon’s Chennai office, a modern building with a blight Amazon logo, is located on the IT highway, where young Indian software engineers are developing Amazon Kindle. The tens of millions of Kindles sold worldwide are built (digitally) and shipped (digitally) from this office. This is where the world largest river of the e-commerce starts, carrying billions of digital and analogue items to the vast ocean of the consumers around the world.
Buy Kindle e-book and save paper and Amazon!