BENGALURU: Big Tech is under fire. Companies including Amazon, Google and Facebook which have been bullish on India - the world’s second largest internet market with cheapest data rates and 500 million smartphone users are facing the heat from traders, who have vowed to write to respective administrations in the states to investigate the alleged malpractices of e-commerce giants.
The move comes a day after India’s competition watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) allowed the Karnataka High Court to continue its investigation of business models of Amazon and Walmartowned Fl ipkart .
Confederation Of All India Traders, which represents eight crore small retailers in the country, said on Saturday that nearly 50,000 mobile retail shops have shut all due to e-commerce platform’s preferential treatment of sellers, colluding with mobile manufacturers for exclusive launches on their platforms, which harms the business interests of small traders.
“Amazon is claiming to create lakhs of jobs and promoting small traders. I challenge them to come up with the list of top 10 sellers who have benefitted from their platform during the last eight years of their existence in India. These sellers have special agreements with the e-commerce firms or are simply their subsidiaries, which basically violates India’s existing laws,” CAIT’s General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement.
CAIT had earlier accused ecommerce majors of violating Section 3 of Competition Act as well as Foreign Direct Investment rules.
Khandelwal had submitted his concerns before Union commerce minister Piyush Giyal who directed the Enforcement Directorate to investigate whether Amazon and Flipkart are circumventing the country’s FDI and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Meanwhile, Amazon has aggressively been promoting itself as a platform of small businesses.
Amazon India head, Amit Agarwal said on Friday that the company remains committed to digitize one crore. SMBs (including 10 lakh local stores), enabling $10 billion in exports, and creating 20 lakh jobs by 2025.
It is not just e-commerce that Amazon is focussed on. Jeff Bezos has also eyed India’s payments, insurance, food delivery, online pharmacy and even offline retail markets through various investments throught its subsidiaries in the last couple of years.
In the US, another crucial market of Big Tech, the Congress has proposed a new legislation that seeks to break big firms into smaller subsidiaries or shed their private –label businesses to prevent the digital monopoly.