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Business trends

Amazon and Flipkart race to adapt to India's new e-commerce rules

Smaller merchants accuse the tech giants of exploiting regulatory loopholes

Walmart-owned Flipkart is Amazon's biggest rival in India.   © Reuters

MUMBAI -- Amazon.com and Walmart-backed e-commerce startup Flipkart are moving quickly to comply with new Indian foreign direct investment rules that aim to curb the power of the two companies, which dominate over 60% of the country's online shopping market.

The rules imposed on Feb. 1 are widely seen as a populist move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect millions of mom-and-pop shops from the threat of these global giants, and win the merchants' votes in the upcoming general election. Yet Amazon and Walmart are clearly not ready to give up on a market that is expected to grow fivefold in less than a decade.

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