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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hangs out with Bollywood stars during India trip

James Leggate

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has been rubbing shoulders with some of India’s top entertainers during a trip to the country this week.

Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, posed for photos at a blue carpet event in Mumbai organized by Amazon Prime Video on Thursday.

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Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan posted a photo of himself with Indian movie director Zoya Akhtar and Bezos.

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Earlier, Bezos and Amazon India tweeted videos showing the CEO visiting the Mahatma Gandhi memorial and flying a kite with local youths while wearing traditional Indian garb.

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Bezos pledged that Amazon would invest $1 billion in digitizing small and medium Indian businesses while speaking at a business summit in New Delhi Wednesday. He said Amazon would use its global reach to export $10 billion worth of made-in-India goods.

“I predict that the 21st century is going to be the Indian century,” he said to cheers from the crowd.

But a group of Indian store owners protested Bezos’ visit this week. Amazon and the Walmart-backed Flipkart are facing a probe by Indian officials over allegations that the companies broke Indian law by using proxies to undercut local sellers.

Protesters carried signs with the slogan “Amazon go back” and “Jeff Bezos go back.”

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Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders, criticized Bezos’ $1 billion pledge as “nothing but promotional” and accused Amazon of “predatory pricing” in a tweet.

While Bezos has been rubbing shoulders with Bollywood stars, he likely won’t be meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite requests due to concerns about the investigation and controversy, Reuters reported.

Amazon launched its India site in 2013. The unit reported a loss of the equivalent of $802 million in the fiscal year that ended in March of 2019, the Economic Times reported.

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