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The unionisation of ecommerce: Indian e-services cos form trade association TECI

Snapdeal, ShopClues, UrbanClap, Shop101, Flyrobe, Fynd, Mamaearth, Superbottoms and Azah have founded a trade association called The E-Commerce Council of India (TECI), reports the Economic Times. TECI will look at policy advocacy, best practices when it comes to data privacy, logistics and payments, dispute resolution, consumer protection, MSME development and work with other stakeholders in the industry. The association will also work with trade bodies in India and abroad towards its objectives.

TECI companies have 7.5 lakh online sellers and service providers, according to the report. It claims that over 100 million users use services on its member companies.

Nikhil adds: What’s missing? It looks like the two largest ecommerce players in India, Amazon and (Walmart owned) Flipkart aren’t a part of this.

Timing is everything

TECI’s formation comes at a time when regulation in the ecommerce industry is rife. The Indian government’s newly released draft ecommerce policy treats “ecommerce” and the “digital economy” the same way with vague definitions and confusing outlook towards multiple points like data privacy, data collection, spam, advertising rates etc. It also states that global regulation has prompted the Indian government to release a policy of its own. While many may view the policy as protectionist, its terms do not spell out the advantages for Indian companies explicitly.

Also read: India’s ecommerce policy is inconsistent and vague, stifles innovation – Nikhil Sud

In addition to this, local trade bodies have been lobbying for further protectionist and regulatory measures to curb non-Indian ecommerce companies’ deep pockets, deep discounts and predatory pricing. Foreign ecommerce companies operating in India have expressed disappointment over the policy and its limited time frame process as well. See what Amazon and Walmart said.

IndiaTech overlap?

Readers will remember that about 2.5 years ago, Indian ecommerce and internet companies Flipkart, Ola, MakeMyTrip, Quikr, and Hike Messenger banded together to launch an industry body called Indiatech.org to lobby or battle against ‘deep pocketed’ global competitors for ‘fair market’ in the country. IndiaTech.org, in its own words, is a “non-profit, voluntary industry association.” A year after formation, the association appointed Rameesh Kailasam as its new CEO. At that time, its website was not live.

IndiaTech’s members include MakeMyTrip, Ola, Hike, SoftBank, Steadview Capital, Quikr, Matrix Partners, Policybazaar, Kalaari Capital, Urban Ladder, Lenskart, Epiq Capital, A91 Partners and IDG Ventures.

Also read: #NAMApolicy on the E-Commerce Policy: should network effects be regulated?

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