Small traders, known for opposing foreign investment in their business, may set up shop in American electronic commerce company eBay's online marketplace. Some trade bodies that already sell on eBay are expanding their presence.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, last month urged small traders to compete with foreign retail chains through e-commerce. At a conference organised by traders' associations in the capital, Modi, without stating his position on foreign investment in supermarkets, said, "The online world presents new opportunities for you."
Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of the Confederation of All-India Traders, who was present at eBay's launch of a report on sellers today, said traders' opposition to foreign investment in retailing had not changed. However, online marketplaces, like those provided by eBay, could help local traders to grow, he added.
Key tie-up of eBay with small trader’s association
Apart from eBay, another American e-commerce company Amazon operates an online marketplace in India. Indian e-commerce companies like Flipkart and Snapdeal have significant foreign investment in them. India does not allow foreign direct investment in inventory-led e-commerce companies, but there is no restriction on online marketplaces.
Traders' associations pointed out that eBay was the first e-commerce company to approach them. eBay works with the Surat Diamond Association, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, the Vijayawada Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Indian Exporters' Organisations among others, said Latif Nathani, managing director, eBay India.
"Small traders will be interested to join hands with eBay because the company will facilitate their online stores and will never compete with sellers," he added.
eBay, which operates its online marketplace in 39 countries, recently led other investors to buy a larger stake in Snapdeal for Rs 830 crore. The company refused to comment on its Snapdeal stake or future acquisition plans.