Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez rubbed shoulders with some of India’s biggest Bollywood stars as the power couple arrived for a party in Mumbai on Thursday.
The Amazon CEO appeared relaxed and at ease next to his significant other as he continued his much-publicized tour of the country this week.
Later on Thursday, Bezos posted video onto his Instagram account showing him flying a kite alongside Indian teens.
‘Any day is a good day when you get to fly a kite,’ Bezos wrote in the caption.
He ended the caption with the hashtag #ThankYouIndia.
Bezos’s trip through India has not been without controversy.
The world’s richest man faced furious protests on Wednesday by street traders who claim the e-commerce giant is destroying their livelihoods.
The billionaire, who is facing an investigation by the country’s competition commission, announced a $1billion investment program when he spoke at a business conference in New Delhi.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (right) and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez (left), pose for photographs during an event at a hotel in Mumbai on Thursday
Bezos on Thursday took part in a fireside chat with Bollywood celebrities
The recently divorced Bezos has been seen in public frequently with Sanchez in recent months
Bezos and his girlfriend appeared to be adopting desi fashion during their night out on Thursday
But his visit sparked angry protests by traders who want Amazon and other online shopping platforms banned and waved placards outside saying ‘Jeff Bezos, Go back.’
They claim Bezos, worth an estimated $115billion, is killing off India’s traditional street vendors.
Sumit Agarwal, national secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders, said: ‘We are not against e-commerce.
‘We just want the commission and the government to set up a fair and equitable playing field where the Amazons and Flipkarts cannot abuse the system with unfair subsidies and their favored traders.’
Bezos on Thursday posted video on his Instagram account showing him flying a kite alongside Indian youths
Bezos high-fives a young Indian girl in the video, which was apparently filmed in Delhi
Flipkart is an Indian e-commerce giant. Last fiscal year, it generated an estimated $6billion.
In August 2018, American retailer Walmart purchased a 77 per cent stake in the firm for an estimated $16billion.
The Competition Commission of India announced Monday that it was investigating both Amazon and Flipkart over accusations they undermine traditional traders by favoring ‘preferred sellers’ on their platforms.
Bezos, who is on a three-day visit, said he wanted to help small and medium sized businesses in India to digitalize.
Bezos on Tuesday visited the Raj Ghat Mahatma Gandhi Memorial. His three-day trip to the country has been hit with controversy and protests
Bezos (left) on Wednesday faced furious protests in India today by street traders
Traders claim Amazon and other online shopping platforms are destroying their livelihoods
‘We will use our global footprint to export $10billion worth of “Made in India” products across the world by 2025,’ he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to boost national production.
Bezos highlighted India’s growing importance, saying ‘the 21st century will be the Indian century’ and that the US-India alliance will be the most important.
Amazon and Flipkart face increasing scrutiny and resentment despite their popularity among customers.
Media reports said Bezos has sought a meeting with Modi, but neither the government nor Amazon would confirm if talks would be held.
Bezos, who is on a three-day visit, said he wanted to help small and medium sized businesses in India to digitalize
Bezos spoke at a conference in New Delhi on Wednesday as street traders protested
Amazon has said it will cooperate with the competition commission investigation and was ‘confident’ it was operating legally.
The commission, which last year fined Google $21million for abusing its dominant position, said it will report in 60 days, but its inquiries normally take a lot longer.
The Hindu nationalist government is to announce a new e-commerce policy by March, and is under pressure to help small businesses because of a slowdown in the economy and high unemployment.
The merchants accuse Amazon and Flipkart of flouting India’s tough foreign investment rules and pouring billions of dollars into discounts that harm traditional traders.
Agarwal highlighted special deals with mobile phone makers under which they are sold online, often at discount, before they reach high street shops.
He said 55,000 of the 100,000 small traders who have gone out of business in the past six months – when Amazon and Flipkart have fought a merciless price cutting war – were mobile phone sellers.
After arriving Tuesday, Bezos paid tribute to India’s independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, dressing in an Indian kurta to lay flowers at a memorial in Delhi.