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The Inside Story: Reuters correspondent Aditya Kalra on his investigation that revealed Amazon’s secret strategy to dodge Indian regulators

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, attends a company event in New Delhi, India, January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

In a special report published last week, Reuters revealed that Amazon has for years given preferential treatment to a small group of sellers on its India platform, publicly misrepresented its ties with the sellers and used them to circumvent increasingly tough foreign investment rules.

The revelations are contained in hundreds of internal Amazon documents reviewed by Reuters. The documents, dated between 2012 and 2019, provide an inside look at the cat-and-mouse game Amazon has played with India’s government, adjusting its corporate structures each time the government imposed new restrictions aimed at protecting small traders.

Reuters Special Correspondent Aditya Kalra explained why the story has resonated so widely: “India is a critical growth market for Amazon and the company has seen tremendous expansion here. But as our story shows, the company is operating in a charged political environment. Small retailers, who form an important part of Prime Minister Modi’s support base, have long accused Amazon of engaging in predatory practices and harming their businesses. The documents cited in our story reveal how Amazon has favored a select group of big sellers on its platform in India.”

With Amazon facing increasing scrutiny by Indian regulators, news of the strategy detailed in the documents could deepen the risks for the company in one of its key growth markets. Amazon says it has always complied with Indian law.

The investigation was picked up widely by Reuters clients across the world, including international media outlets and major broadcasters.

You can read the full investigation here.

[Reuters PR blog post]

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