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Amazon, Google, and Alibaba face anticompetitive investigations from governments in the EU, China, and India


EU, India, and China launch antitrust probes against Amazon

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Regulators in the EU, China, and India have recently launched investigations into large multinational firms like Amazon, Google, and Alibaba. These investigations intend to mitigate what regulators perceive as anticompetitive business actions, and aim to tighten regulations to promote fair market competition.

Amazon: As part of an ongoing investigation, the European Commission introduced charges against the etailer, alleging that it holds unfair online shopping dominance—especially in Germany and France, two of its largest markets—because it acts as both a marketplace and a retailer. The European Commission also opened a second investigation looking into whether Amazon unfairly favors its own retail offerings as well as sellers that use its logistics and delivery services. The recent investigations come amid similar allegations made by US officials.

Google: India’s antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), opened a formal investigation into Google’s practices. The CCI alleged that the tech giant abuses its power to promote Google Pay during Android device setup and skews search results in favor of the app. Furthermore, the CCI alleged that Google Play Store’s billing system and in-app purchases unfairly favor Google Pay. Recently, India-based payments firm Paytm made similar allegations, accusing Google of monopolizing India’s tech space.

Chinese retail firms: China’s market regulator released a set of draft rules to mitigate anticompetitive actions from large Chinese retail firms as shopping holiday Singles’ Day kicks off. Alibaba, JD.com, and Tencent are among some of the firms involved in the probe as Chinese regulators look to implement rules that tackle price discrimination, the favoring of merchants that sign exclusive deals with these large retail platforms, and the mandatory collection of user data. China has been looking to regulate its bustling online retail space: In 2018, it passed an ecommerce law to promote healthy market competition. 

The slew of investigations signals a trend of global governments moving toward tighter regulations to control multinational firms. For example, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission recently announced that it’s looking to strengthen its antitrust laws, joining the EU and US in managing big tech firms’ dominance in the global market.

The new and ongoing investigations aim to prevent large firms like Amazon and Google—which both have a substantial global presence—from poaching business away from smaller companies in domestic markets. Promoting fair market competition might be even more important now because the pandemic, and accompanying coronavirus restrictions, have made it harder for small businesses to operate.

Although tighter regulations could help small businesses better compete, larger corporations may have a more difficult time operating in both domestic and global markets.  

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Source:: Business Insider

      

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