New Delhi: The government is launching a pilot program for private VPN service providers to sell their services through Amazon.com, a move that could help curb piracy, but has also raised concerns over the impact on freedom of expression.
Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de, the two biggest online retail sites in Europe, will be able to sell its services on Monday.
The move comes after the Indian government, which has sought to curb online piracy in a bid to counter China’s rise in the global economy, announced last month that it will begin a pilot project to sell VPNs through the e-commerce giant, which accounts for about 25% of the global online retail market.
Amazon has long been a major player in India’s burgeoning online retail industry, selling nearly $2.5 trillion of products in the country since 2009, and has become a dominant force in the sector, with a global market value of $22 billion.
The government is taking a different approach with VPN services, though the government has not yet announced pricing for VPNs.
Amazon says it will be offering the services at “competitive prices” for the pilot period.
“As we announced last year, we are working with the government to develop a national strategy to ensure an efficient and efficient service, and the pilot program will help us bring about the reforms needed to strengthen the Internet in India,” Amazon India, a subsidiary of Amazon, said in a statement.
“As part of this pilot, we have partnered with various ISPs in India, and we will soon launch our VPN service in India.
Our partnership will also ensure that we have the lowest possible price for users and sellers.”
Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, and India is a huge market for the company.
India accounts for a quarter of the company’s global sales.
The country’s Prime membership program, for example, costs $39.99 a year, but Prime customers have the option of paying $1,499 a year to access the service for an annual fee.
Prime subscribers also have the ability to purchase more content through Amazon’s cloud services, which include Prime Music, Prime Video and Prime Video Unlimited.
The company said the pilot would allow it to “better manage the distribution of content across our platforms.”
In a statement, Amazon said that the pilot will provide “a more efficient and streamlined experience for users who wish to purchase products and services through our services and enable us to better manage our content distribution across our platform.”
Amazon.com has long used a network of VPNs to help users evade censorship by using the company as a middleman to access websites blocked in China.
In recent years, the company has also tried to diversify its online retail business, signing deals with other tech companies to create online retailers in India that sell products online.