Amazon is capping off a big week in India with an eye-catching pledge to help create a million new jobs in the country.
The company said Friday that it expects the jobs to be added over the next five years through ongoing investments in its operations on the ground.
These openings will be “created both directly and indirectly … and are in addition to the 700,000 jobs Amazon’s investments have enabled over the last six years in India,” it said in a statement.
Amazon is investing in its technology and logistics networks, and says the new positions will span areas such as IT, cloud computing, retail and manufacturing.
The announcement came just days after the company made another major commitment: CEO Jeff Bezos, who is visiting India this week, said Wednesday that Amazon would allocate $1 billion to helping 10 million small and medium-sized businesses around the country get online by 2025.
“We’ve seen huge contributions from our employees [and] extraordinary creativity from the small businesses we’ve partnered with,” Bezos said Friday in a statement. “We’re excited about what lies ahead.”
Amazon says it has grown its employee base more than four times in India since 2014, and last year inaugurated its new campus in Hyderabad, the company’s largest building globally with 15,000 employees. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the size of its workforce in India or provide further details about its future hiring plans.
The $1 billion infusion announced by Bezos is the company’s newest commitment in its battle for a piece of India’s vast economy. Prior to that, Amazon had already disclosed plans to pour more than $5 billion into the country.
The Seattle-based company has been locked for years in a fierce battle with Flipkart, now owned by Walmart, for dominance in India’s online retail market, which is projected to be worth $200 billion by 2027. The broader retail market is already estimated to be worth more than $670 billion.
But Amazon faces other challenges in India beyond fierce competition.
On Monday, the country’s antitrust regulator opened an investigation into Amazon and Flipkart over allegations that the two retail giants are illegally undercutting local businesses — claims that the firms deny.
Bezos also faced a chilly reception Wednesday in New Delhi, where Amazon kicked off a two-day summit for small businesses.
Protests were held against the company and its billionaire founder by the Confederation of All India Traders, a large trade organization, which says that small business owners are being squeezed by deep discounting by companies such as Amazon.
More than 550,000 sellers use the Amazon India marketplace, and more than 60,000 Indian manufacturers and brands export products to customers worldwide using the company’s platform.
Bezos said this week that its investment could help traders export $10 billion in Indian goods over the next five years, bolstering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to “Make in India.”
The company is also linking its job creation plans to an ambitious goal of the Indian government to provide workplace training for more than 400 million people by 2022, saying it aims to hire more people into roles including software engineering, content production and customer support.
The promise of new jobs is timely. India’s economy has slumped in recent months, and unemployment climbed last year to its highest level in decades.