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Amazon, Flipkart ramp up their government affairs and public policy teams

Bangalore

Soon after the Indian government had announced restricted changes to foreign direct investment (FDI) policy for the e-commerce industry in December last year, e-comm marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon complained of being caught unaware of the development and sought more time to understand it.

A series of FDI policy changes with two months deadline created panic and confusion for e-comm firms.

To avoid such a situation in the future, Amazon and Flipkart are ramping up their government affairs and public policy teams.

Jeff Bezos-led firm has already put on advertisement for managerial posts for government affairs and public policy. It will prefer the candidates who have already with the Indian central government and have the technology public policy experience.

Amazon is reportedly looking for three candidates for the posts.

Whereas Walmart-led homegrown marketplace Flipkart has hired Dhiraj Kapur, former vice-president of corporate affairs at Carlsberg India, as the head of government affairs. Kapur has been assigned to form a team in states and will be reporting to Rajneesh Kumar, who is CCO. Flipkart is also looking to hire retired public service officers who understand policy issues and government affairs.

Like many companies, we do consult with advisors to help engage better to support India’s development needs, said Kumar.

He further said that consistent engagement will be good for operations and supply chain. Flipkart has been planning to build the team since Walmart partnership announcement, he added.

The FDI policy, that came into effect from Feb, among many measures restricted online marketplaces from entering into exclusive deals for selling products and influencing prices on their platforms.

As per analysts, these changes took toll o the earnings of Amazon and Flipkart. New York-based investment bank and financial services firm JP Morgan had said that Flipkart and Amazon both losses will shoot up in three years.

Amazon, which has already witnessed a 30% increase in losses to Rs 6,287 crore in FY18, could witness around 100% rise in three years whereas Flipkart may see an incremental loss of $280 million, added Morgan.

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