daily column – 22nd june 2021

GoI has more regulations for e-commerce platforms!

First Some context: Many trade unions, particularly the Confederation of All India Traders, have frequently advocated regulating e-commerce companies. The Competition Commission of India is presently investigating two of the largest e-commerce companies, Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart.

An explosive Reuters report earlier this year claimed to reveal Amazon’s attempts to avoid Indian authorities. Cloudtail, a joint venture of NR Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures and Amazon India, and one of the platform’s largest sellers were hit with an INR 560 million tax notice only last week, according to The Guardian.

The Consumer Protection Rules: 2020, which apply to e-commerce companies, have been drastically altered by the Indian government. The following are some of the most significant changes:

  • All e-commerce businesses must register with the Department of Industry and Internal Trade. -They are prohibited from doing “flash deals” on any products or services.
  • Companies selling imported products must explicitly identify the country of origin and enable consumers to filter by it.
  • If sellers fail to provide products or services, the businesses will be liable for “fallback responsibility.”
  • No entities connected with a marketplace will be allowed to sell directly on its platform.
  • Stricter restrictions will apply to private label goods associated with the selling platform.
  • Under the new IT Rules, every e-commerce company will be required to employ a Grievance Officer and a Chief Compliance Officer, similar to those required of social media platforms.

Stakeholders have until July 6 to provide their opinions on the plan.

Shopping Festival — E-Commerce!

It’s Amazon Prime Day, a holiday that you can’t criticize for being dominated by materialism since that’s the purpose.

Amazon will give more than 2 million discounts to its Prime members today and tomorrow to boost e-commerce sales during what is usually a slow period in the shopping calendar.

After moving Prime Day to October last year owing to the epidemic, this year’s celebration marks a return to normal. That turned out to be a wise decision…

  • Amazon sold $10.4 billion worth of products in two days, up 45 percent from 2019.
  • Sales from third-party vendors surpassed $3.5 billion, an increase of almost 60% year over year.

Big picture: Creating a holiday to encourage consumers to buy has proven to be such a great concept that other stores, like Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s, have begun to offer their mega-deals to coincide with Prime Day.

Looking forward…

Jeff Bezos’ final day as CEO is today. On July 5, he’ll step down to make room for AWS CEO Andy Jassy.

Maruti is once again getting more costly!

Maruti Suzuki, India’s biggest automobile manufacturer, has announced a price increase beginning in July. This decision seems to be motivated by rising input rates. This is the market leader’s third price rise this year, after hikes in January and April.

Increasing input costs: Automobile manufacturers are not alone in this tendency. As the cost of obtaining raw materials rises, businesses across sectors are prepared to raise prices. Metals like aluminum, lead, nickel, and tin, for example, have risen by as much as 55 percent in the past six months. Crude prices have also been trending upwards. Paints, detergents, soaps, and other consumer products include chemicals that are becoming more expensive.

Everyone pays: This implies that daily consumer items and consumer durables such as refrigerators and televisions will become more costly. In the past two quarters, Hindustan Unilever has increased the pricing of its goods. Asian Paints has also announced that prices would rise by 2% in July.

Companies may need to prepare for reduced sales if all of this is combined with diminished spending capacity.

Reliance Industries has made the headlines once again!

On June 24, Reliance Industries (RIL), majority-owned by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s wealthiest man, will host its much-anticipated annual general meeting. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the chairman of Saudi Aramco and the governor of the Kingdom’s wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, is expected to join the Reliance board of directors ahead of a $15 billion transaction between the two firms.

RIL, the most valuable business in India by market capitalization as of June 21, is also anticipated to release a low-cost 5G smartphone and laptop. As is customary, there is talk of a large dividend and a bonus issue.

Mega event: The business, renowned for holding blockbuster AGMs, is hosting it online, much like the previous one. In 2020, the virtual corporate event drew over 300,000 concurrent viewers from 42 nations and 468 locations. Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh Ambani’s father, once hosted a RIL AGM in a sports stadium in Mumbai, attracting nearly 12,000 excited shareholders.

Deals profusely: Although a possible agreement with Aramco, in which the Opec heavyweight would own 20% of the refinery, was initially announced in 2019, the Covid-19 epidemic is said to have caused it to be postponed. In recent years, Mukesh Ambani has been on a deal-making frenzy, lowering his oil-to-e-commerce conglomerate’s debt load and bringing global leaders in future industries as partners. For $1 billion, RIL sold a 49 percent interest in its gasoline retailing business to BP. A clutch of global companies, including Google, Facebook, General Atlantic, KKR, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Qualcomm, bought a 33 percent interest in the company’s digital platform Jio.

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