FDI in e-commerce: no some-more fifty shades of grey
March 31, 2016 - Fifty Shades of Grey
At an unpretentious fun-filled riddle foe among friends, family and singular malts someday ago, we was asked “What have we review recently that is presumably taboo nonetheless cold, unequivocally pithy nonetheless leaves something to a imagination?” The scold answer was Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James, yet we got it totally wrong. we had answered: The Press Note on FDI Regulations in E-commerce in India, withdrawal everybody in a room totally flummoxed with my response.
The DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India) separated some of these conundrums by their just-issued Press Note No. 3, 2016 Series (PN3) on Guidelines for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in e-commerce.
Actually, there have been no new announcements as such, and a existent laws have only been re-stated some-more clearly. Where a PN3 scores is in clearly defining marketplaces and register formed e-commerce models. Now it is some-more clear, as it was always my viewpoint that marketplaces merely yield a record height joining buyers and sellers. That a law now allows them to offer services like logistics and patron support, and also collect payments on interest of sellers is a good step.
FDI in B2C e-commerce in India has always been taboo by law, nonetheless this has never valid a halt for e-commerce companies who have blatantly damaged a FDI laws and lifted billions of dollars from abroad funds. On several occasions, a Enforcement Directorate (ED) has apparently investigated many e-commerce companies for violation these laws, nonetheless we have not listened of any serve movement being taken even yet it was apparent to all that a regulations were being damaged with impunity. This gets licked now interjection to PN3. Hopefully.
By tying a business of any singular vendor, seller, or organisation entity on a marketplace platforms to reduction than 25 per cent, a PN3 strikes a blow opposite a stream crafty association structures employed by e-commerce companies that lift register yet fake to be a marketplace. No some-more nudge-nudge-wink-wink-front-end-back-end-top-end-bottom-end-right-end-left-end-arms-length-yet-tight-embrace-multiple-entities. To me, this is a biggest indicate in PN3 given it finally clarifies what everybody always knew – that FDI laws were being deftly circumvented by constructional fume and mirrors.
Industry experts have suggested in a media that interjection to PN3, dual things will now happen; low discounting and rapacious pricing will stop and marketplaces will now be forced to enhance their seller base. we do not determine with both views. Here’s why:
Deep discounting happened given e-commerce sites, armed with inexpensive and easy income and with no split strategy, used rapacious pricing to acquire business over a years. Sure, this use might stop now, not given of PN3, yet given a song is negligence down and a appropriation celebration is commencement to end. Consider this: If a tip 10 marquee investors who have driven e-commerce valuations in India to violent heights so distant come together currently after reading PN3 and guarantee to deposit another $ 5 billion in Indian e-commerce companies, do we cruise low discounting will end? If so, well, greatfully cruise again.
Marketplaces will unequivocally enhance their seller bottom as they have always done. This is to offer business augmenting choice and preference and also de-risk their business by swelling it among some-more sellers. PN3 will play no purpose in this. It is like observant Uber will supplement some-more drivers to their platform, not given it offers riders reduce wait times, yet given a law allows people to drive!
Here’s how we cruise things might vessel out:
- Global marketplaces like Alibaba and Rakuten will devise uninformed moves to enter India directly with 100 per cent-owned subsidiaries (especially in a box of Alibaba, whose stream e-commerce investments in India are not moulding adult good enough), nonetheless honestly a progressing law never prevented this. Ebay (through their subsidiary) has been around with a marketplace indication for years now while entirely adapting to a existent FDI laws in India.
- The likes of Alibaba might also weigh investments into e-commerce ventures of (say) a Tata Group as has been rumoured in a media.
- Amazon will have to wait for some some-more time before they can launch their elite inventory-based indication in India. Meanwhile, they have a bigger plea to face now.
- Single-brand retailers like MS, HM, Ikea, and Puma will launch e-commerce sites along with their offline stores. This will be good for patron experience.
- There’s speak that PN3 will concede backdoor entrance to tellurian multinationals like Walmart. This is doubtful to happen. Walmart will enter India formed on a FDI laws for offline sell and not given of B2C e-commerce laws. They might continue to work on B2B e-commerce in India. Incidentally, FDI in B2B e-commerce has always been allowed.
So, who unequivocally gets impacted?
Actually, any e-commerce association that has lifted abroad supports is impacted. Since a law has not altered (except in defining marketplaces) in any manner, many of them might face a awaiting of being investigated if they have depressed tainted of FDI regulations progressing (I think a brief answer is yes). Biggies like Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra, that follow an inventory-led indication or fake to be a marketplace by routing vast tools (well over 25 per cent) of their sales by accessible back-end companies like WS Retail and Cloudtail might have a outrageous emanate on this count. we am astounded that this was such a prolonged time entrance given a law has been flouted for years now.
Here’s something else to gnaw on. The PN3 defines e-commerce as a shopping and offered of products and services including digital products over digital and electronic network. Now cruise this. What about (say) Cleartrip, Yatra and other OTAs? They are marketplaces offered atmosphere tickets delivered digitally from only a handful of airlines who are sellers. At slightest one of these airlines might be delivering 25 per cent of tickets by value to consumers. Some of these OTAs have lifted FDI. And what about bookmyshow.com, that delivers film tickets digitally and has also lifted supports from outward India?
Hmmm. Interesting. Follow this space for some-more developments.
Having pronounced all of this, my viewpoint on FDI in e-commerce is utterly opposite and as follows:
- There is no need for a apart FDI in e-commerce policy. E-commerce is another middle of sell and should be clubbed with a altogether ‘FDI in Retail’ policy.
- FDI in sell has always been noticed politically in India by unbroken governments. It should be noticed and motionless economically.
- The tip dual concerns opposite permitting 100% FDI in sell are confidence and insurance of tiny traders. We concede FDI in Defence and Railways, certainly sell can be authorised from a confidence perspective. Further, a traders and mom-and-pop shops are unequivocally enterprising. No vast tradesman can hit them off easily.
- India will benefit significantly by modernized logistics technologies vast retailers will bring; internal manufacturers will find some-more avenues to sell their furnish and consumer prices will go down with a entrance of multi-national retailers.
- Keeping this in mind, India should simply concede 100% FDI in all sell including e-commerce. This is a remodel great out for years now.
Meanwhile, subsequent time anyone asks me a riddle about my reading habits, we shall be improved prepared.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions voiced in this essay are those of the author and do not indispensably simulate the views of YourStory)