Amazon, Walmart face the ire of 70 million shopkeepers in India | IOL News

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In the heart of New Delhi's largest wholesale bazaar, merchants who normally compete with each other have united against a common enemy.

"Amazon, Flipkart!" one merchant after another shouts into a microphone from a small stage in Sadar Bazaar's central traffic circle. Some 50 other shopkeepers gathered around shout back in unison: "Go back! Go back!"

The sit-in, which created more chaos than usual among the rickshaws, motorbikes and ox-carts plying the market road, was one of as many as 700 protests against Amazon.com and Walmart - owner of local e-commerce leader Flipkart - that organisers say took place at bazaars across India on a recent Wednesday.

India's shopkeepers are mobilizing against the global e-commerce giants, alleging they are engaged in predatory pricing in violation of new rules meant to protect local businesses. At stake is the future of retailing in a country with 1.3 billion consumers, where Walmart and Amazon have sunk billions of dollars trying the crack the market and capture its growth potential.

"Amazon and Flipkart are a second version of the East India company," said Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders at the Delhi protest, referring to the British trading house whose arrival in India kicked off nearly 200 years of colonial rule. "The motive of Amazon and Flipkart is not to do business, but to monopolize and control."

 

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