Amazon's international losses cross $3bn in 2017 on India business growth

Amazon’s international losses ballooned to over $3 billion dollars in 2017 on the back of its India business, where it is fighting off domestic rival Flipkart recently backed by Softbank.
 
International losses grew to $3 billion in 2017 from $1.28 billion in 2016, while international sales jumped to $54 billion from $43.9 billion. In the quarter ended December, Amazon’s international losses stood at $919 million, almost double the loss of $487 million in the December quarter of 2016.
 
As one of the highlights in the latest earnings report, Amazon said more new paid members joined Prime in 2017 than any previous year. Amazon Prime vice president Greg Greeley had told ET earlier that India was the fastest-growing market in terms of Prime membership globally.
 
“India continues to be a good story for us. We feel that it's had a lot of growth in the past year. In fact, more Prime members joined India's Prime program in the first year than we've seen in any other country in the history of our world,” Amazon’s chief financial offier Brian Olsavsky said during an earnings call on Thursday. 
 
Prime eligible selection in India grew over 25 million items, and the company also held its first Prime Day sales in the country in July last year. Amazon Prime Music is also set to be launched in India soon.
 
Amazon Prime was offered at an introductory price of Rs 499 when it started in India in July 2016 and the subscription was increased to the original level of Rs 999 late last year.
 
Amazon also said it introduced all-new Alexa experiences built from the ground up for customers in India and other countries such as Japan and Canada.
 
A 2016 report by Bank of America Merill Lynch said that Amazon India will be the company's largest market outside of US, accounting for over a fifth of the Amazon's total international sales by 2025. The report estimated Amazon India unit to hit $81 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) and $2.2 billion in operating profits.
 
ET reported this week that Amazon has pumped in record capital into its main India unit this financial year, with Amazon Seller Services rceiving Rs 8,150 crore, or about $1.3 billion, so far in 2017-18. The capital infusions came more frequently last year after Flipkart raised $4 bn last year from SoftBank and other investors such as Tencent, Microsoft and eBay.
 
Amazon’s net sales increased 38% to $60.5 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $43.7 billion in fourth quarter 2016, as the company rode the wave of the shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well as Christmas and New Year’s. For whole of 2017, net sales increased 31% to $177.9 billion, compared with $136.0 billion in 2016.
 
The net income was $3.0 billion compared with net income of $2.4 billion in 2016.
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