- Small business owners in India are protesting Amazon, saying they won’t be able to compete with the steep discounts it offers other suppliers.
- An organizer of the protest said Amazon will “destroy small retailers” and called CEO Jeff Bezos an “economic terrorist.”
- The protests coincided with Bezos’ trip to India, where he announced on Wednesday that Amazon plans to invest $1 billion in the country, calling a US-India alliance the “most important” of the 21st century.
- Meanwhile, India’s antitrust regulator just opened an investigation into potential unfair business practices by Amazon and Walmart-owned online retailer Flipkart.
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Amazon’s planned $1 billion investment in India has not been met with open arms.
On Wednesday, CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the e-commerce giant wants to put money into “digitizing small and medium businesses” and said that, in the 21st century, “the most important alliance is going to be the alliance between India and the United States.”
However, small business owners in India don’t seem to think that alliance should involve Amazon, and thousands took to the streets this week in protest. Sumit Agarwal of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said demonstrations were planned in as many as 300 cities across the country.
Agarwal said in a tweet Amazon will “destroy small retailers” and called Bezos an “economic terrorist.”
Traders of @TEAMCAIT @AimraIndia @AICPDF will be protesting TODAY across 300 cities against the India visit of Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos who runs an organisation that expertises in predatory & anticompetitive business to destroy small retailers @praveendel @BCBHARTIA #GOBACKBEZOS pic.twitter.com/OorfqaUyqO
— SUMIT AGARWAL (@sumitagarwal_82) January 15, 2020
Here’s a look at a few of the protests and why shop owners are so opposed to Amazon’s presence in India.
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Jeff Bezos is on a trip in India, and said Wednesday that Amazon plans to invest $1 billion in “digitizing small and medium businesses” in the country.
Bezos also said that a US-India alliance will be the most important alliance of the 21st century.
But not everyone was excited by Amazon’s interest in India. Thousands of local shop owners took to the streets to protest Bezos’ visit, holding signs that said: “JEFF BEZOS GO BACK.”
Protests were held in as many as 300 cities across India, according to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), one of the trade associations that organized the demonstrations.
Sumit Agarwal of CAIT tweeted that Bezos and Amazon were “foreign economic terrorists & invaders.” Protesters also compared Amazon to the East India Company, a British company that colonized India, parts of Southeast Asia, and Hong Kong.
Enough of tolerance! @TEAMCAIT @AimraIndia will fight this battle against foreign economic terrorists & invaders till the very end and bring back peace & prosperity for our 70 million retailers. @narendramodi @rajnathsingh @PiyushGoyal @nsitharaman It’s now time for action! https://t.co/aHpsJJNGt1
The protesters are concerned that Amazon has used its enormous size to undercut small businesses on price, saying those businesses are unable to compete with the steep discounts that Amazon offers larger sellers.
India’s antitrust regulator recently opened an investigation into Amazon and Walmart-owned online retailer Flipkart over this exact issue. It said e-commerce titans like Amazon use their market dominance to price “below cost,” making it hard for other businesses to compete.
Amazon has faced similar criticism in Europe, too. Germany’s competition watchdog launched an investigation in 2018 into Amazon over the potential abuse of its marketplace platform.
And in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly been talking to Amazon’s competitors as part of a potential antitrust investigation.