Business Insider Edition

Thousands of angry Indians are planning to disrupt a visit from Amazon's Jeff Bezos

Kieran Corcoran , Business Insider US
 Jan 14, 2020, 12:40 PM
A protest image from the Confederation of All India Traders objecting to a visit by Jeff Bezos to India.

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is due to visit India this week to meet government officials and hold a huge Amazon event.
  • But many retailers in India who are being disrupted by Amazon want to make their displeasure felt.
  • A large Indian lobby group for retailers says it is rallying as many as 500,000 people to protest.
  • Visit Business Insiders home page for more stories.

Thousands - potentially hundreds of thousands - of Indian small-business people are planning to give Jeff Bezos an unpleasant welcome on an impending visit to the country.

Members of the a leading Indian small business group, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), say they will mobilize between 100,000 and 500,000 people to protest against the Amazon CEO.

Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT's secretary general, described his protest plans to Reuters and Bloomberg, saying that he expects people to demonstrate in as many as 300 cities around India.

The demonstrations are planned to hit on Wednesday, the same day Bezos is expected to attend a stadium-sized summit for small businesses being staged by Amazon in the capital, New Dehli.

CAIT members object to Amazon's efforts to expand into the Indian retail sector, which is dominated outside of cities by small players.

They say Amazon, worth close to $1 trillion, is using its economic muscle to offer deep discounts that smaller members cannot compete with.

Taking a nationalist tone, CAIT National Secretary Sumit Agarwal said on Twitter that his group "will fight this battle against foreign economic terrorists & invaders till the very end."

Agarwal also posted protest imagery marked "Jeff Bezos Go Back!" It showed Bezos' face being crossed out, next to a backdrop of protesters.

According to India's CNBC-TV18 news network, citing unnamed sources who know the itinerary, Bezos is due to arrive in India on Wednesday, January 15.

The network says he will attend Smbhav, a summit run by Amazon for small businesspeople.

The event, at New Dehli's JLN sports stadium, features speakers including Amazon's top Indian executives as well as senior figures from firms like Google, Visa, HSBC, and Unilever.

Bezos is not listed as a speaker, but both CNBC-TV18 and Bloomberg reported that he would attend.

He is also said to be seeking a meeting with Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister, and to make an appearance at a celebrity event for Amazon's Prime Video service.

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