Amazon opens its biggest office ever. Outcry ensues

Critics call 1.8M sf building in India a symbol of e-tail behemoth’s destructive push into country

Jeff Bezos and the Amazon building in Hyderabad (Getty, Youtube/Amazon India)
Jeff Bezos and the Amazon building in Hyderabad (Getty, Youtube/Amazon India)

Amazon just opened its largest office in the world, spanning 1.8 million square feet, in Hyderabad, India.

It’s part of the e-commerce giant’s massive push in the second-most populous country, a move that not everyone is happy about, according to the New York Times. Namely, domestic retailers and elected officials.

Amazon started construction on the massive office building in 2016. It has 49 elevators, a helipad, a cricket pitch, prayer rooms and a 24-hour cafeteria. The building is part of a campus that is roughly 65 football fields large.

Amazon already employs 60,000 workers and 155,000 contractors at 40 offices, 67 distribution centers and 1,400 delivery stations around the country.

Unlike the U.S. and U.K., India prohibits foreign direct investment in retail. Amazon and other e-commerce companies must function as neutral marketplaces for independent sellers, according to the Times.

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Critics of Amazon claim the company favors preferred sellers by offering big discounts and that it essentially undercuts and pushes out local retailers.

After receiving complaints from local retailers, Indian regulators are investigating Amazon and rival Flipkart for violating antitrust regulations.

The Confederation of All India Traders, which represents 70 million traders and 40,000 trade associations in the country, is among Amazon’s opponents.

Confederation founder Praveen Khandelwal called Amazon’s new office in Hyderabad — about 450 miles southeast of Mumbai — a way to “push for control and dominance over Indian retail trade in a more structured way.”

The company has a 32 percent market share in the e-commerce space, second behind Flipkart. [NYT] — Dennis Lynch