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e-comm: Amazon gung-ho on India sales; dares Flipkart

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MUMBAI: Amazon, the global e-commerce giant, paid Rs 40 crore to acquire Westland Ltd's publishing arm, thus giving it access to local content and a library of popular books, which continue to be a popular item on India's e-commerce. It aims to push higher sales of its Kindle readers in India. The acquisition, which includes Mikros, Tranquebar and EastWest, may aid Amazon compete with Flipkart.

Westland, a unit of Trent, a Tata company, received Rs 9.5 crore from Amazon to part with 26%, with the option to buy out the remainder. Without disclosing the number of users, Amazon India offers over three million books to Kindle users. Amazon India vice-president and country manager Amit Agarwal said in a statement that their acquisition continues their commitment to India, enabling Amazon to bring Westland's learned authors and their books to even more customers in India and around the world.

Amazon is gung-ho about its investments in India and the response it had received from sellers and customers. Amazon CFO Brian T. Olsavsky said Amazon, which just reported quarterly profits, indicated that its India investments are starting to show results but may impact international margins as it plans to go whole hog to conquer the significant internet market.

Amazon, which is investing in digital content, plans to launch its VOD platform Prime in India soon. Prime is one of the top selling units based on Amazon.in. Being a third-party market has caused a lot of invention for Amazon.

Amazon’s finance chief also indicated that the company would continue to add resources to India. Over the past two months, Amazon has outsold Flipkart in terms of monthly sales, Mint reported in September. However, including sales from Jabong and Myntra, Flipkart continues to leave Amazon behind. Amazon’s India business, which is aggressively expanding its consumer products and fashion categories, aims to launch its global programme for start-ups called Launchpad in India shortly.

Amazon's team in India has been very creative -- it creates on its own, from delivery stations to working with small merchants. Amazon is happy with both, the seller engagement as well as the customer engagement.

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