/Why people in India are protesting Amazons $1 billion investment – Business Insider

Why people in India are protesting Amazons $1 billion investment – Business Insider


  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Wednesday that the e-commerce giant will invest $1 billion to bring small business in India online.
  • Bezos made the announcement on a visit to India, where he was met with protests held by small-business owners from around the country.
  • Protesters said they are unable to compete with the steep discounts that Amazon offers with other suppliers.
  • They held signs saying “JEFF BEZOS GO BACK!” and one group’s leader said they will fight against “foreign economic terrorists.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Wednesday that the e-commerce giant would invest $1 billion into the country to bring some of its small business online, he was met with protesters who said that Amazon will “destroy small retailers.” 

The protesters said Amazon offers deep discounts that small- and medium-sized businesses in India just can’t compete with.

Sumit Agarwal of the Confederation of All India Traders said on Twitter that Bezos “runs an organisation that expertises in predatory & anticompetitive business,” calling Bezos an “economic terrorist.” 

Agarwal said protests could reach as many as 300 cities across India. 

Protesters held signs that said “JEFF BEZOS GO BACK!” 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’s comments that companies like Amazon are “foreign economic terrorists” and “invaders.” 

jeff bezos go back

Traders hold placards during a demonstration demanding the closure of online shopping platforms Amazon and Flipkart, in New Delhi on January 15, 2020.
SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images


This criticism from small-business owners comes as India’s antitrust regulator, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), said it would investigate Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart for what it said were discounts given to “preferred sellers.” 

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

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

Ashok Kumar Gupta, chairman of the CCI, told Reuters that large e-commerce companies should not provide large discounts and that they should disclose policies on discounts. 

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

 

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