The Competition Commission of India isn’t likely to get assistance from Walmart and Amazon as it tries to determine the impact eCommerce is having in the country.
Reuters, citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter, reported Walmart-owned Flipkart, the Indian eCommerce company, and Amazon aren’t keen to share trade secrets and as a result, don’t want to cooperate. The Competition Commission of India is undergoing what it calls a “fact-finding exercise” to better understand the eCommerce sector. The questionnaire, which was delivered to several eCommerce companies and reviewed by Reuters, has 88 questions, is more than 12 pages long and requests information on pricing strategies, product information and the company’s largest selling vendors.
Since Amazon and Flipkart are major players in the eCommerce market in India, what they have to say will have a big impact. They are reluctant to answer the questions completely, fearing it would result in them providing operational secrets. “This survey is very detailed,” one of the sources told the news outlet. “Companies are worried because these are competitive, confidential things which are business critical.”
The questionnaire also asks about the number of employees the eCommerce operators have, how they charge vendors on their platform and information regarding agreements struck between an eCommerce provider and vendors. The government agency states in the document that the companies aren’t required to participate in the survey. According to the report, the Competition Commission of India states in the document it “does not form a part of any investigation and/or inquiry in any of the proceedings pending.”
The move on the part of the Competition Commission of India comes a few months after new rules were put on the books regarding foreign investments in eCommerce. The rules include preventing foreign companies from selling products on their marketplace from companies in which they have a stake. That resulted in Amazon and Flipkart overhauling how they did business to comply with the rules.