India Launches Open eCommerce Network To Take On Amazon

Today, India will launch an open network for digital commerce (ONDC) as the government tries to end the dominance of US companies Amazon and Walmart in the fast-growing eCommerce market, according to the reports. 

The decision to launch an open eCommerce platform comes after India’s antitrust body on Thursday raided domestic sellers of Amazon and some of Walmart’s Flipkart following accusations of competition law violations. 

India retailers have long contented that Amazon and Flipkart’s platforms benefit a few big sellers through predatory pricing, though the companies say they comply with all Indian laws. 

The government’s open network digital platform aims to allow the buyers and sellers to connect and transact with each other online regardless of what other applications they use. It will be launched on Friday, i.e. today, without delay, the trade ministry told Reuters. 

Two large multinational players control more than half of the country’s eCommerce trade, limiting access to the market, giving preferential treatment to some sellers, and squeezing supplier margins, said a government document. But it didn’t name the company. 

The eCommerce company Amazon and Flipkart did not respond to the request yet. The document said that the concept aims to onboard 30 million sellers and 10 million merchants online and plans to cover at least 100 cities and towns by August. It would focus on local languages for both buyers and sellers, emphasising small merchants and rural consumers. 

The government has already started receiving support from retailers and venture capital firms. Institutions like ICICI bank, Bank of Baroda, and State Bank of India have already committed to a total investment of 2.25 billion rupees, approximately $33.26 million on ONDC. 

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