Amazon is currently the biggest name in India in terms of online shopping and its business is continuously expanding. However, given the atmosphere that is building against Amazon in India due to its shady style of doing business, it seems that if the company does not change its attitude, then it will be forced to leave the Indian market.
Amazon under investigation for floundering norms
In a detailed investigation by Reuters, it was revealed that the Indian subsidiary of Amazon provided preferential treatments to companies on its platform. Based on internal amazon documents, the report detailed how the company time and again floundered the rules made to protect small businesses of India. Simply put, government’s rules meant that e-commerce giants could sell products from independent inventories only. But the investigation revealed that the e-commerce giant had infused money in some of the biggest sellers on its platform. It also promoted their products to prosper more profits. Currently, the enforcement directorate is investigating the issue.
Amazon tries to get its leg in the future-reliance deal
Fearing that Reliance may create problems in Amazon’s dream of monopolising the Indian market, the company tried to halt the merger deal of reliance and future group. The deal between Reliance and the future group would have established Reliance Jio’s presence in India’s e-commerce market and overturned the competition posed by Amazon and Flipkart. The company tried to obstruct the deal by taking the matter to the lower court. The lower court ruling against amazon was challenged in Delhi high court which ruled in favour of the company. Then the matter went to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), which again ruled in favour of the giant. Finally, Indian Supreme Court justified the ruling of the lower court, and the deal went ahead.
Read more: Amazon cleverly invested in Future Group to stop its acquisition by Reliance. NCLT gives it a major jolt
Amazon allegedly bribed Indian officials
Recently, the public accounts of some of the amazon companies revealed that they had paid over Rs 8,500 crores in terms of legal fees. This amount was paid over a period of two years. The subsidiaries of amazon involved in the process include Amazon Retail India Pvt Ltd, Amazon Seller Services Pvt Ltd, Amazon Transportation Services Pvt Ltd, Amazon Wholesale (India) Pvt Ltd, and Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd (AWS). It is highly speculated that this amount was used to bribe government officials through independent lawyers. The company has launched an internal investigation into the matter, while there are demands of a judicial investigation into the issue.
The company is also under probe by the Competition Commission of India for its anti-competition practices.
Read more: Despite Flipkart and Amazon’s plea, Karnataka HC gives the green signal to initiate antitrust investigation over their illegal anti-competitive practices
Aware of all these developments, recently Union Commerce minister Piyush Goyal criticised the company for trying to establish its monopoly in the country. He said– “Big companies wield a lot of power owing to large amounts of money with them, they are trying their best to maintain their free will in the e-commerce market. To hurt our small business and traders. And after a while, it causes harm to our consumers in the long term,”. He also vowed to bring out new rules to control its monopolistic attitude.
Recently, Panchjanya, an RSS affiliate magazine called Amazon a modern version of East India Company. The magazine especially drew parallels between the early years of both companies in India and described how Amazon is riding parallel to the path set by the East India Company
The e-commerce giant has been a bone of contention for governments all around the world, especially during the last decade.
- The accusations of luring customers away from bookshops are probably as old as the company itself.
- Recently, reports of the company delivery agents peeing in plastics owing to high work-load had surfaced. To exploit its workers, the company is said to be high in opposition to trade unions.
- It has been accused of colluding with the CIA in breach of its users’ privacy.
Continuing the trend, Amazon has juggled a lot in an attempt to bypass the Indian system but has not been much successful. Moreover, developments suggest that the company will have to pay for its sins in India.