India’s Antitrust Body Calls For Investigation Into Flipkart, Amazon

In an order on Monday (Jan. 13), the antitrust body of India said it has called for a probe into potential competition law violations by Walmart’s Flipkart and Inc. Both firms deny the claims, CNBC reported.

The Competition Commission of India claimed that the exclusive deals between mobile phone brands and online shopping platforms in addition to allegations of eCommerce firms providing better treatment to specific sellers “merits an investigation.” A spokesperson for Flipkart said, according to report from another outlet, “The Flipkart group is fully compliant with all applicable laws and FDI regulations.”

The spokesperson continued, “We take pride in democratising e-commerce in India and giving market access to lakhs of MSMEs, sellers, artisans and small businesses, making quality and affordable goods available to consumers through our transparent and efficient marketplace while creating lakhs of jobs.” The news outlet reached out to Amazon India for a reply.

Confederation of All India Traders Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said per the report that a probe into the purported anti-competitive practices by Flipkart and Amazon is the “first concrete long awaited step” in recognizing the disadvantages that small traders face in the present day. Confederation of All India Traders represents 40,000 trade associations in India and 70 million traders.

In separate news, both Flipkart and Amazon announced blockbuster sales on the opening day of their annual festive season sales in India per news in October. The sales began on Sept. 28 and were to conclude on Oct. 4 prior to the Hindu festivals Dussehra and Diwali.

Amazon reportedly saw record sales of approximately $7.07 million in 36 hours for the premium smartphone brands category. Walmart-owned Flipkart said all large categories — including baby care, furniture, beauty, and private labels — experienced double-digit sales growth from a year prior in the first day.

That news came in the midst of a slowdown in the nation that has led the government to introduce tax cuts and different measures to bolster growth.