July 23, 2020 / 7:52 AM / 14 days ago

Amazon to open 10 new India warehouses; offers insurance

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of diplayed Amazon logo in this illustration taken March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) India unit on Thursday said it will open 10 new warehouses in the country and begin offering auto insurance, in moves that will help the e-commerce giant widen its reach in a key growth market.

With the expansion, Amazon will have over 60 warehouses or fulfilment centres across 15 Indian states with an area equivalent to more than 100 football fields, the company said in a blog post.

The new warehouses will be set up in 10 Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, it added.

India is one of the fastest-growing markets for U.S.-based Amazon but one where it has also had to face regulatory hurdles, and a backlash from traders over accusations of offering discounts.

On Thursday, Amazon also said that its local payments arm, Amazon Pay, has partnered with private firm Acko General Insurance to offer car and motor-bike insurance. That makes India Amazon’s first market where it offers such a financial service.

The insurance is currently available on Amazon’s app and mobile website.

Customers of Amazon’s Prime loyalty programme — which promises free movies and music streaming as well as faster deliveries for an annual 999 rupees ($13.36) — will get extra benefits and more discounts, Amazon said.

Amazon’s service will compete with local rivals including SoftBank (9984.T)-backed digital payments firm Paytm and insurance aggregator Policybazaar.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; editing by Jason Neely and Hugh Lawson

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