Business, Economics and Jobs

Amazon launches third-party product site in India


Workers go about their business at the online retailer Amazon's distribution centre in the eastern German city of Leipzig on December 11, 2009.



Internet giant Amazon has officially launched its first shopping website in India.

With over 50 million active internet users in India, according to BBC News, 40 percent of whom have previously bought stuff online, this certainly seems like a good deal for Amazon.

But is it good for India? That remains to be seen. Despite being massively popular  with American consumers, as well as people in other countries, Amazon has gained a reputation as a foe to small businesses and workers' rights.  

One example why: in 2011, Amazon offered a one-day sale during the holiday season through its Price Check mobile phone app

More from GlobalPost: Germany: Amazon workers go on strike

The app allowed people to scan any item they found in a traditional store with their phone, and Amazon would then automatically offer that same item for five percent cheaper. Small business owners were furious.

Worse are the warehouses where books, CDs and other products are packed and shipped to Amazon customers. The warehouses are notorious for long hours, heat and other unpleasant working conditions. Most recently, a warehouse worker sued Amazon last month for allegedly forcing workers to pass through a 25-minute security checkpoint after their shift without extra compensation for the time. 

And in Germany, workers went on a one-day strike to protest their wages.  

In India, however, Amazon will be subject to different regulations. In fact, Amazon cannot even stock and sell its own products in India, because regulations there prevent multi-brand retailers from selling products online. Instead, Amazon will simply act as a third-party seller to Indian shoppers. 

"Our vision is to become a trusted and meaningful sales channel for retailers of all sizes across India," Amazon's Amit Agarwal, country manager in India, told the BBC. "We will do the heavy lifting for the sellers so that they can focus on core business functions like sourcing and pricing their products."