Cowboys and Indians: E-commerce in India and China

E-commerce market differences between China and India.

Times of India reports that Amazon's founder & CEO Jeff Bezos has said India and China are completely different markets, contrary to the narrative prevalent in the Indian consumer Internet space. "In India, we gave our team all-round software engineers and I asked them to be fast-acting cowboys instead of calm clear-headed computer scientists, and they took those instructions and have done an amazing job," Bezos said during a chat at tech portal ReCode's code conference. The Seattle-based online retailer has been gaining ground as it fights a fierce battle with domestic e-commerce biggies like Flipkart and Snapdeal since it launched India operations almost three years ago.

Bezos said one of his biggest learnings, and a reason for good growth in India compared to China for the e-tailer has been much more localisation in the domestic market here compared to China. Most of localisations implemented in China were also being rolled out in countries such as the US, the UK and Germany, among others. Amazon has had an unsuccessful run in China with local giants like Alibaba dominating the e-commerce market there.

"I think some of the investors in India had thought that India might be a replay of China, and they have found out that it hasn't gone that way; and our team in India has just done an unbelievable job," he said, adding that there are several reasons for the two markets being different. "Regulations in India are different. It has to be a three-piece-sales model. We don't have owned inventory sales and all sales are marketplace sales... We do most of our last-mile transportation... it wouldn't be our first choice for how to do it but its the only choice," he said in a chat with Recode's Editor at large Walt Mossberg.


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