Amazon considers itself friendly, not enemy, of small companies



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Amazon.com, which aims to present itself as a job creator that encourages innovation in small businesses rather than an uncontrolled corporate enterprise that needs taming, said it helped family businesses create 1.6 million jobs by 2018. , from 900,000 in the previous year.

The company released a report on Tuesday during National Small Business Week for disclosure to elected officials as part of a charm offensive aimed at diverting e-commerce from competition damage. Nearly 2 million small businesses partner with Amazon, including authors who receive royalties on book sales, merchants selling products on their site, and engineers who create the voice-activated Alexa platform, according to the report.

"Amazon is inspired by the kind of courage and inventiveness that entrepreneurs make," said Jeff Wilke, Amazon's chief retailer, in the report.

Still, the message from the company is likely to be difficult in Washington and in US capitals. Amazon will capture almost half of the $ 600 billion consumers spend online this year, according to Jeff Bezos, CEO of EMarketer Inc., has become the richest man in the world, turning his company into a target of several social movements that condemn income inequality. technological platforms. Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren vowed to wipe out giants like Amazon, and labor protests prompted the company to cancel a planned new headquarters in New York.

In California, legislation introduced last month by a Berkeley state assembly seeks to impose new restrictions on how Amazon operates its online store. If Buffy Wicks, once dubbed "Buffy the Walmart Slayer," do what you want, the project will help promote a national conversation about Amazon. The bill would restrict the use of consumer data by large e-commerce platforms such as Amazon for marketing and other purposes. It would also impose terms on Amazon when the company withholds funds from trading partners during disputes.

The bill is the first national legislation to provide a fair basis for small businesses that use e-commerce markets to sell their products, said Wicks, who has worked on community-based marketing campaigns critical of Walmart Inc., a retail giant. paying low wages to employees. "These sites have a responsibility to ensure that small businesses know and understand the policies that govern the contractual relationship."

Amazon's 12-page report details small businesses that are helping to highlight the company's impact beyond the disruption of the retail industry, such as store closures and layoffs. It features photos and anecdotes from merchants who sell baby products, jewelry and home decor on the website; a man in Denver who hired 40 people to start his own business delivering Amazon packages; and a Seattle entrepreneur who received an investment from Amazon's Alexa Fund to develop tools used in voice-activated software. The report says that Amazon has invested tens of billions of dollars in technology and tools that help small businesses succeed and has provided more than $ 1 billion in business loans in 2018.

Bezos argued last month in a letter to shareholders that the company's growth has benefited independent traders who sell more than half of the goods that people buy on the site.

To contact the reporter in this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at [email protected], Alistair Barr

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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