Here’s a quick wrap-up of the biggest stories from India this week.
1. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is optimistic about the company’s prospects in India, a $16 billion e-commerce market. Amazon has already committed $5 billion to grow it’s presence in the country, and Bezos called out the performance of its India business at its earnings call last Thursday. He said that the company’s website is the most visited and fastest growing marketplace in India. While the company’s international business lost $481 million on the back of increased spending in geographies like India, Amazon is already at work to make its India business profitable at a unit level.
2. More sexual misconduct allegations emerge against Indian VC Mahesh Murthy, one as late as 2016. Less than a week after FactorDaily ran its story on sexual misconduct allegations against Murthy, a partner at venture capital firm Seedfund, dating back to 2003, several other women have come forward with accusations that he continued with inappropriate conduct until at least last year.
3. One97 Communications, which owns payments and ecommerce company Paytm is about to close $1.9 billion in funding. Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and others are likely to invest in this mammoth round, valuing the company at $9 billion, reports said. This leaves India’s ecommerce sector with three major players: Flipkart, Amazon, and Paytm. Among other things, Paytm also launched a “digital gold,” offering that will allow users to buy and sell gold on the app.
4. Google India on Tuesday announced a new set of products and features for Indian languages. Google Translate will now use Google’s new Neural Machine Translation technology to support English translation for nine widely used languages. India has 234 million Indian language users online compared to 175 million English users, so Google is betting heavily on Indian language users.
5. Bill Gates targeted comments at India in a blog post this week. He said India is winning the war on human waste and praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cleanliness mission. “Nearly three years ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made one of the boldest comments on public health that I have ever heard from an elected official. It’s still having a big impact today,” he wrote. Only a few days ago, The New York Times reported that the Indian government blocked foreign donors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, from donating to one of the largest nonprofit public health organizations in the country.