SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZE ENTERPRISES SEEK PROTECTION OF INTERESTS AGAINST EXPLOITATION BY E-COMMERCE GIANTS IN INDIA

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In India, the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), generally, find it difficult to market their products and reach large number of customers owing to financial constraints, lesser public awareness about their products and services, high competition, etc. Thus, they mostly choose to market their products through various e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc, with an expectation that they would be able to grab more attention of customers at reasonable costs.

But, recently, a group of small and medium retailers, selling their products/services through Amazon, Flipkart, etc, have alleged that the e-commerce giants exploit them. Further, All India Online Vendors’ Association and other such associations have accused the e-commerce portals of following unregulated and anti-competitive business models such as predatory pricing, deep discounting, preferential treatment to certain large sellers to the disadvantage of small and medium retailers, etc.

Therefore, the small and medium retailers have sought the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office to safeguard their interests and have also expressed interest in being included in the discussions for drafting e-commerce policy of India, for protection of their interests.

But the e-commerce giants have, reportedly, claimed to have made efforts to create a transparent market, to facilitate market access to SMEs in every corner of the country, etc. Recently, as per various newspaper reports, Amazon India has announced 16.12.2018 as a ‘Small Business Day’ in order to promote SMEs and micro entrepreneurs in India, to empower them to market their products through e-commerce platforms, and to encourage customers to explore, discover and purchase products sold by SMEs. During this one-day online sale, products would be sold at special prices and cashbacks would be provided to buyers.

Such efforts of e-commerce giants may help to boost local employment and local manufacturing in India, and also to facilitate more revenue generation by the SMEs.

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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