Amazon is still targeting India in an aggressive manner and sees the South Asian country as one of its largest foreign growth opportunities, especially after it gave up on the idea of trying to compete in China. The company's local push is presently being headed by Amit Agarwal, a long-time employee who has been with Amazon since the late '90s and only moved back to India in 2013. The Seattle, Washington-based firm is currently estimated to have 150 million registered users and 300,000 sellers in the country. Besides opening new fulfillment centers and investing in promoting its offerings, Amazon's India push also saw the firm streamline its mobile app into one called Micron that has been specifically designed for entry-level devices and is installed automatically if owners of such smartphones attempt downloading the regular app.
Amazon also revamped its Prime Video streaming service in order to account for the fact that average Internet speeds in India are well below those in the West, having managed to do so without significantly impacting its image quality. The company recently launched its lineup of Alexa-enabled Echo speakers in the country, with the localized edition of its artificial intelligence assistant speaking English with an Indian accent, in addition to having knowledge of some local languages. Amazon's AI ambitions in India are largely identical to those it's pursuing in the West, with the company hoping voice-enabled shopping searches will eventually become mainstream and allow it to finally start monetizing its solutions.
Going forward, Amazon is looking to invest in everything from local distribution to new payment methods and services, with both Mr. Agarwal and CEO Jeff Bezos previously claiming the company's local ambitions are still in their early days. Flipkart is Amazon's largest local rival in the e-commerce space, whereas its digital payment plans are now also pitting it against the likes of Paytm, Samsung, and even Facebook's WhatsApp.