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India to expedite Amazon, Flipkart antitrust probe as tech focus intensifies -sources

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NEW DELHI — India’s antitrust watchdog plans to expedite a restarted probe into allegations of anti-competitive habits at Inc and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart, because it intensifies scrutiny of big-tech corporations, two folks near the matter stated.

The feedback come as main U.S. expertise corporations together with Twitter Inc and Fb Inc are at loggerheads with the federal government over points corresponding to information privateness payments and insurance policies some business executives have known as protectionist.

The Competitors Fee of India (CCI) initiated a probe in January final yr on the premise of a grievance alleging Amazon and Flipkart promoted choose sellers on their e-commerce platforms and that deep reductions stifled competitors.

The businesses have denied wrongdoing.

Close to-immediate authorized challenges from the pair stalled the probe for over a yr till a courtroom final week allowed it to renew, having dismissed arguments that the CCI lacked proof.

Although Amazon and Flipkart are more likely to attraction, the CCI plans to demand info from them associated to the allegations “as shortly as attainable,” stated one of many folks, who declined to be recognized as a result of sensitivity of the matter.

The investigation “will likely be expedited,” the particular person stated. Such investigations in India usually take months to finish.


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Amazon declined to remark. Flipkart and the CCI didn’t reply to requests for remark.


The CCI is rushing up all circumstances involving huge expertise corporations, together with by deploying extra officers for some circumstances and dealing to extra stringent inside deadlines, stated the 2 folks, who’re conversant in the watchdog’s considering.

“Instances involving digital corporations are getting a precedence at CCI as they will have vital affect on the financial system and Indian startups,” stated one of many folks.

Final yr, the CCI started reviewing allegations of Google abusing the place of its Android working system within the good TV market, and is more likely to quickly order a complete antitrust investigation, the folks stated.

Google declined to remark.

Such a probe could be the third in opposition to Google, with the Alphabet Inc unit already battling circumstances regarding Android in addition to its cost app.

The CCI can be investigating practices at MakeMyTrip Ltd and privateness coverage modifications at Fb’s WhatsApp.


The probe into Amazon and Flipkart is restarting at a time when each are battling accusations from offline retailers that their complicated enterprise constructions enable them to avoid international funding guidelines for e-commerce.

In February, a Reuters investigation based mostly on Amazon paperwork confirmed the e-tailer for years gave preferential remedy to a small group of sellers on its Indian platform. Whereas arguing to restart the probe, the CCI advised a courtroom in Karnataka state that the Reuters report corroborated proof


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Amazon, which has stated it “doesn’t give preferential remedy to any vendor,” advised the courtroom it disagreed with the Reuters report.

The antitrust physique will look at the Reuters report and will use it as a part of its investigation, one of many folks stated.

“The CCI’s plan to maneuver quicker on such circumstances is consistent with different antitrust regulators globally which can be investigating digital markets like e-commerce and on-line search, that are dynamic and evolving quick,” stated an Indian antitrust lawyer who represents tech corporations. (Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Enhancing by Christopher Cushing)


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In-depth reporting on the innovation financial system from The Logic, delivered to you in partnership with the Monetary Put up.


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