2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Amazon logo displayed inside the company’s Bangalore office 2/2
By Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Amazon (NASDAQ 🙂 has for years given preferential treatment to a small group of sellers on its India platform, publicly misrepresenting its ties to sellers and using them to circumvent foreign investment rules increasingly strict that affect electronic commerce, show internal company documents reviewed by Reuters. The documents, dated between 2012 and 2019, are reported here for the first time. They provide an inside look at the cat and mouse game that Amazon has played with the Indian government, adjusting its corporate structures each time the government imposed new restrictions aimed at protecting small businesses. To read a full special report on Amazon’s strategy, click https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/amazon-india-operation With Amazon Facing Increasing Scrutiny From Indian Regulators News of the strategy detailed in the documents could deepen the risks for the company in one of its key growth markets. Indian merchants, who are a crucial part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s base of support, have long alleged that Amazon’s platform greatly benefits some big sellers and that the e-commerce giant engages in predatory pricing. that hurt their business. In a written statement, Amazon said that it “has always complied with the law” in India and that “as government policies have continued to evolve, we have consistently made the necessary changes to ensure compliance at all times.” Amazon also said that it “does not accord preferential treatment to any seller in its market” and that it “treats all sellers in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner, and that each seller is responsible for independently determining prices and managing their Inventory”. “Here are more key findings from the special report: * Documents reveal that the American e-commerce giant helped a small number of sellers prosper and gave them discounted rates, using them to circumvent India’s regulatory restrictions on foreign investment aimed at protect small merchants. * Some 33 Amazon sellers accounted for about a third of the value of all products sold on the company’s website in early 2019, documents show. Two other large sellers, merchants in the Amazon That Amazon had indirect equity interests, they accounted for about 35% of the platform’s sales revenue at the beginning of 2019. That meant that about 35 of the more than 400,000 Amazon sellers in India at the time accounted for about two-thirds of your online sales. * Amazon exercised significant control over inventory for some of the May Three sellers on Amazon.in show the docs, despite the fact that it publicly says that all sellers operate independently on its platform. * Amazon helped Cloudtail, a vendor in which it has an indirect equity stake, close special deals with big tech makers like Apple Inc (NASDAQ :), documents show. * One document contains an honest assessment of Modi. “Prime Minister Modi is neither an intellectual nor an academic, but he believes that strong administration and governance are the key to running a successful government,” he said. Amazon says it is helping small and medium-sized businesses in India grow and now has more than 700,000 sellers on its platform. During a visit to India in January last year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced that the company would spend $ 1 billion to get small businesses online in the country. That would bring Amazon’s total committed investment in India to $ 6.5 billion. Amazon had close to $ 10 billion in sales in India in 2019, according to Forrester Research (NASDAQ :).