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Amazon chief Bezos holds off-schedule meet with Modi

04 October 2014

Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of American e-commerce giant Amazon, wrapped up his week-long visit to India after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday .

President and CEO of Amazon Jeffrey P. Bezos with Prime Minister Narendra ModiAmazon has aggressive expansion plans in India, and Bezos made a dramatic entry to the country waving a cheque of $2 billion before adoring Bangalore crowds.

For his meet with Modi, the normally casually-dressed Bezos donned a dark suit and a tie, as he discussed, among other things, policy issues related to foreign investment and taxation.

The Bezos-Modi meeting was kept secret to the last minute, with the media having no clue it would occur. But after the about half-hour interaction, the Prime Minister's Office tweeted about it with a smiley picture, as is the practice in the new Indian government.

Currently, foreign investment is not permitted in the Indian e-commerce sector, forcing companies such as Amazon to operate the 'marketplace format' rather than its usual inventory-based model to the detriment of consumers, whose choice gets limited.

The foreign investment rules do not apply to the marketplace model because this is about offering a technology platform to retailers to sell their products, rather than storing, warehousing and selling itself, as in the inventory format.

The picture of Bezos and Modi posted by the PMO shows the two laughing together. Much has been said about Bezos's explosive laugh; and the two must have exchanged guffaws.

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