Amazon and Walmart will face antitrust probes in India over their eCommerce practices, the country’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday (Aug. 9).
According to Reuters, the ruling stems from an investigation ordered last year by the Competition Commission of India into whether Amazon and Walmart’s Indian eCommerce arm, Flipkart, promoted select sellers on their platforms and used tactics that hindered competition.
The two companies said they will cooperate, but have denied wrongdoing and have fought legal battles against the investigation, arguing that the CCI doesn’t have the evidence it needs to launch the probe.
As PYMNTS reported in July, Flipkart has argued separately that it shouldn’t be treated like Amazon in the CCI’s antitrust suit, claiming that the two companies are “fierce competitors” in the eCommerce world.
“The allegations and the evidence before the CCI against the Appellant were qualitatively different from those relating to Amazon … The CCI should have independently examined the case against each of the two platforms,” Flipkart said in its court filing.
The court said companies such as Amazon and Flipkart should volunteer for investigations in the interest of transparency.
As Reuters pointed out, the decision is a significant step back for the companies, as the Supreme Court was considered their last defense against the CCI investigation.
“In the current antitrust case, filed by trader group Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, the two companies face allegations of exclusive launches of mobile phones, promotion of select sellers on their websites and deep discounting practices that drive out competition,” stated the Reuters report.
Flipkart and Amazon had also asked the Supreme Court to stall the CCI request for information, including details about their top 100 sellers and best-selling items.
The two companies are key players in India’s online retail market, which could be worth $200 billion by 2026. Last month, Flipkart was valued at $37 billion, making it India’s largest domestic tech venture. Based in the country’s tech hub in the southern city of Bengaluru, Flipkart now boasts over 350 million registered users and more than 300,000 vendors offering 150 million products.