Why do people in India protest the investment of $ 1 billion from Amazon?

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Wednesday that the e-commerce giant will invest $ 1 billion to bring small businesses online in India.
  • Bezos made the announcement on a visit to India, where he encountered protests from small business owners across the country.
  • Protesters said they can’t compete with the big discounts Amazon offers with other providers.
  • They held signs that read “JEFF BEZOS RETURN!” and the leader of a group said they will fight “foreign economic terrorists.”
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When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Wednesday that the e-commerce giant would invest $ 1 billion in the country to bring some of its small businesses online, he found protesters who said Amazon “will destroy small retailers “.

Protesters said Amazon offers huge discounts with which small and medium-sized businesses in India simply cannot compete.

Sumit Agarwal of the Confederation of All Merchants of India said on twitter that Bezos “runs an organization that specializes in predatory and anti-competitive businesses,” calling Bezos “economic terrorist.”

Agarwal said the protests could reach 300 cities across India.

The protesters had posters that read “JEFF BEZOS RETURN!” and “SECOND VERSION OF EAST INDIA COMPANY”, a reference to the British company that colonized India, parts of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. The theme echoed Agarwal comments that companies like Amazon are “foreign economic terrorists” and “invaders.”

Merchants hold banners during a demonstration that calls for the closure of Amazon and Flipkart online shopping platforms in New Delhi on January 15, 2020.

SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP through Getty Images

This criticism of small business owners comes when the Indian antitrust regulator, the Indian Competition Commission (ITC), said it would investigate Flipkart of Amazon and Walmart for what it said were discounts granted to “preferred sellers.” .

These discounts lead to a “foreclosure of other non-preferred sellers in the online marketplace,” said the regulator, adding that “it is also alleged that preferred sellers are affiliated with … Amazon, either directly or indirectly.”

The ICC said that e-commerce titans like Amazon use their market dominance to set the price “below cost,” resulting in the “creation of high entry barriers and high capital costs for any new participant in the market”.

Ashok Kumar Gupta, president of the ICC, told Reuters that large e-commerce companies should not offer large discounts and should disclose discount policies.

Amazon has faced similar criticism in Europe: in 2018, Andreas Mundt, president of Germany’s antitrust regulatory office, said Amazon’s size and dominance over the e-commerce market gives it the role of “guardian” of the market . Since Amazon has a “double role as the largest retailer and the largest market,” Mundt said, it has “the potential to hamper other sellers on its platform.”

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