Amazon India hiring spree, new restrictions on foreign sellers coming

on Jan16
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Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon points to an aquarium while touring the Spheres during opening day ceremonies at the company's campus in Seattle, Washington, in 2018. The Spheres, a new gathering and working space for Amazon employees located in the heart of the downtown Seattle Amazon campus, contains hundreds of plant species and maintains a tropical climate similar to Costa Rica.

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Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon points to an aquarium while touring the Spheres during opening day ceremonies at the company’s campus in Seattle, Washington, in 2018. The Spheres, a new gathering and working space for Amazon employees located in the heart of the downtown Seattle Amazon campus, contains hundreds of plant species and maintains a tropical climate similar to Costa Rica.

Amazon could soon face a tighter market in India, as new government restrictions are set to kick in next month. But the company remains undeterred in its India expansion based on at least one measure: job openings.

Amazon currently has 660 open positions in Bengaluru (formerly known as Bangalore), which is the second most worldwide after Seattle. The southern city of Hyderabad has the eighth-most with over 450 job openings, according to its career site. That also means India has two of the five non-U.S. markets with the most Amazon job openings.

Although India has traditionally been a popular recruiting site for IT talent and back-end customer service jobs, many of the current openings are for Amazon India’s retail and marketplace positions. For example, of the job openings in Bengaluru, 194 of them specifically mention “Amazon India,” including 65 retail positions and 24 marketplace roles.

The job numbers are the clearest sign yet of Amazon’s continued focus on India, even as it faces new regulations that could challenge its business in the country. The new rules, announced last month and going into effect on February 1, prevent foreign online retailers — like Amazon — from selling products through affiliated companies they own a heavy ownership stake in, or from offering special discounts and exclusive deals in the country.

Amazon has reason to keep up its hiring spree in India. The company has already poured roughly $5 billion into the market, while it is reported to have plans for an additional $2 billion investment in Amazon India. Amazon has also been making inroads into India’s offline space, buying equity stakes of local store chains like More and Shoppers Stop.

On top of that, Amazon is in a fierce battle with Walmart-owned Flipkart over India’s sprawling e-commerce market, which is considered one of the fastest growing in the world. India is expected to grow into a $72 billion e-commerce market by 2020, more than doubling from last year’s $32.7 billion, according to eMarketer. Amazon is in a “neck and neck” position with Flipkart in India, having sold roughly $7.5 billion worth of products in India last year, Barclays estimates.

“All of this requires a lot of talent hiring and employee expansions which explains the job numbers,” said Anindya Ghose, a management professor at NYU.

In a statement to CNBC, Amazon’s representative said it sees India as a strong “talent location” and that it has been hiring for roles across the company both in India and globally. But it also said that it’s currently “evaluating” the new rule changes “to gain clarity so that we remain true to our commitment.”



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