Amazon is facing a ban in India after a damning report was published laying bare “shocking revelations” about its strategy in the country.
Yesterday Reuters published an in-depth investigation into Amazon’s practices in India, a market set to be worth $1.3 trillion this year that Amazon has yet to establish a foothold in.
In its report, based on internal Amazon documents between 2012 and 2019, Reuters accused Amazon of routinely changing its corporate structure to circumvent new regulation in the country and “test the boundaries of what is allowed by law.”
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which is understood to represent a staggering 80 million retail stores in India, said the details of the report are “sufficient enough to immediately ban operations of Amazon in India”.
It went on to call for India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal to “order for a ban on operations of Amazon and India”.
According to the exposé, Amazon supported a small number of Indian retailers, giving them fee discounts and helping them cut special deals with suppliers like Apple.
In 2019, this meant that just 35 of the more than 400,000 sellers on Amazon India accounted for around two-thirds of sales.
Indian retailers, who represent a significant and loyal support base for prime minister Narendra Modi have long argued that Amazon was bad for smaller businesses.
The internal documents reportedly show that Amazon purposefully misrepresented these relationships and used them to circumvent regulations designed to protect smaller retailers.
In response to calls for a ban in the country, Amazon said on its Indian News Twitter account: “In last several years, there have been (a) number of changes in regulations; Amazon has on each occasion taken rapid action to ensure compliance. The story therefore seems to have outdated information and doesn’t show any non-compliance”.
The retail giant also said in a written response to Reuters’ report that it “does not give preferential treatment to any seller or marketplace”, adding that it “treats all sellers in a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory manner”.