India’s antitrust body orders antitrust probe against Amazon, Flipkart

The Amazon.com Inc. logo is displayed on an Apple Inc. laptop computer in this arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Monday, April 23, 2019. Amazon.com Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on April 25. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

India’s antitrust body on Monday ordered an investigation into alleged competition law violations by Amazon.com Inc and Walmart’s Flipkart, the latest setback for U.S.-based e-commerce giants operating in the country.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it was ordering a wider probe following a review of allegations that Amazon and Flipkart were promoting some “preferred sellers” and in turn hitting business of other smaller sellers.

The two companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the antitrust move.

The investigation order comes in a week when Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is expected to visit India for a company event and potential meetings with government officials.

The complaint against the two giant companies was filed by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, a group representing small- and medium-sized businesses, which alleged that several of Amazon and Flipkart’s preferred sellers were affiliated with or controlled by the companies themselves, either directly or indirectly.

The CCI also wants its investigations arm to probe the e-commerce companies’ discounting practices as well as their relationship with such sellers, it said in its 11-page order.

“The Commission is of the opinion that there exists a prima facie case which requires an investigation,” said the order.

The investigation is the latest setback for Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart, which Indian brick-and-mortar traders allege violate the country’s foreign investment rules and burn billions of dollars to offer steep discounts that hurt smaller traders.

Both the companies deny those allegations.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.