Like many large U.S. tech companies, Amazon is facing its share of investigations in Europe. The global giant has found itself in the crosshairs of European Commission regulators over issues like taxes, ecommerce competition, and ebook distribution deals.
Amazon is making its case directly to relevant investigators and bureaucrats. But in the meantime, it’s exercising a softer power to show its friendly, lovable side and remind government officials in subtle and non-subtle ways that the company can be an economic engine to help lift the continent’s stagnant economies.
Here are six ways Amazon has been trying to win European hearts and minds in recent months:
Hello, Brussels: The company announced last year that AWS will also open its first office in Brussels this year. That new office will “support government organizations and businesses of all sizes, from startups to Europe’s oldest and most established enterprises, as they make the transition to the AWS Cloud,” according to an Amazon press release.
AmazonSmile: The company announced it has expanded this charity program to Germany and Austria. Customers in those countries can donate to their favorite charities via purchases on Amazon. The company says it donates .5 percent from purchases made at smile.amazon.de.
Amazon Prime Video: The service has finally expanded to Europe (part of a push to more than 200 countries late last year). It’s a good business move, of course, but it also offers competition to Netflix, whose success has sometimes worried European governments, as well as film and TV industry leaders.
Amazon Academy: The company held its first Amazon Academy in Brussels late last year to give advice on innovation to small and medium-sized businesses. This also included a coding workshop that was intended in part to promote female tech entrepreneurship.
U.K. Charity: The company struck a partnership with the Magic Breakfast to distribute healthy breakfasts to kids in poorer school zones across the country. Last year, Amazon also donated $1.47 million to In Kind Direct in the U.K., a nonprofit that lets retailers donate products than can then be distributed to other charitable organizations.
We’ll see whether this charm offensive pays dividends in 2017. And most likely, the company will continue to expand these efforts in the coming year, as political pressure comes to a head.