Time to tighten marketplace rules in India, Reliance urges lawmakers
Reliance, the largest Indian retailer with over 12,000 stores in pan India has expanded its horizons in e-commerce last few years. But it still lags a notch when compared to competitors in the e-commerce market like Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart. In a bid to bolster its presence in the Indian market, Reliance has called for tighter regulations to be imposed in the Indian e-commerce marketplace to ensure the websites treat all the selling parties equally on their platforms.
Reliance reportedly told officials during a closed-door meeting that was held on Tuesday, that India needs special regulations that would ensure “non-discriminatory” treatment of various sellers on multiple e-commerce websites. Sources said that though Reliance did not name any company, its remarks indirectly hinted towards its e-commerce marketplace rivals Amazon and Flipkart have been alleged to have had a greater regulatory oversight.
Amazon and Flipkart have not responded to the calls by Reliance. But sources said that in the meeting an Amazon executive has said of taking a note of concerns that have been raised by the retail industry in India.
A senior Reliance executive said “marketplace websites must act independently and should have no relationship with their sellers, indicating officials should incorporate such provisions into policy changes for the booming sector.” The intervention by Reliance led by one of India’s richest men, billionaire Mukesh Ambani, indicates growing rivalry of Indian conglomerate with U.S. e-commerce platforms to occupy the position of supreme leader in India, dubbed as world’s fastest growing retail markets. “It appeared Reliance is pushing the government hard (on regulations) so that they succeed in ecommerce,” one e-commerce executive who attended the meeting said.
Last year it was reported that Amazon had been favoring select sellers in India on its website. The U.S. based company is also said to have operated a systematic campaign of creating knockoff goods and rigging search results by users to boost product lines of its own.