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How Jeff Bezos’s Amazon became the behemoth we know today


Amazon is something millions of people use every day across the world - a behemoth that has led to its owner Jeff Bezos becoming one of the world's richest men.

The likes of Walmart date back many years to the 1960s, but Amazon is comparatively new, being formed by Bezos in the mid-1990s.

On July 16, 1995, it officially opened for business as an online bookseller, and in just a month, the retailer had shipped books to all 50 US states and 45 countries.

Bezos's motto is "get big fast," so Amazon eventually merged into an e-commerce colossus, selling everything you could ask for and helping to modernize the way people shop.


Bezos decided to call his startup Amazon after the enormous river in South America, as he believed it wouldn't box him into offering just one type of product or service.

By the end of 1996, Amazon had made $15.7 million in revenues.

Then in 1997, the company went public with a public offering that raised $54 million.

In the same year, Bezos personally delivered the company's one-millionth order to a customer in Japan.

In 1998, Amazon extended beyond books and started selling music CDs. By the following year, a variety of product categories had been added, such as toys, electronics, and tools.

In December 1999, Amazon shipped 20 million items to 150 countries across the globe.

In 2007, Amazon launched the Kindle e-reader. Four years down the line, it announced it was selling more e-books than print books. Also, in 2011, the Kindle Fire was released.

Amazon's humble first office in Seattle (Pic: Amazon)

Amazon has since expanded and now even has its own Amazon stores. 

The HQ is based in Seattle.

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The company now has a net worth of $1.7 trillion and has 798,000 employees worldwide.

Amazon operates in 13 countries. In addition to the US and the UK, other places where you can find a localized site for shoppers are China, Australia, Italy, Canada, France, India, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Spain, and Mexico.

Amazon's US brick-and-mortar stores include 506 Whole Foods Markets, 19 Amazon Fresh grocery stores, 18 Amazon Go convenience stores, 24 Amazon Books stores, 32 Amazon 4-Star outlets, and seven Amazon Pop Up locations.

In the UK, there are six Amazon Fresh grocery stores - The first one opened in March 2021 in Ealing, West London.

Amazon has its own way of giving back to the communities around the world, including making sure more young people learn about STEM and computer science through Amazon Future Engineer.

They also address "Right Now Needs" to help make sure certain needs are met for students to be successful at school. They also support global communities after natural disasters and finally make it easy for customers to support their favorite charitable organization when they shop through AmazonSmile.

The motto is: "We focus on building long-term, innovative programs that have a lasting, positive impact."

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