Foreign rivals

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal hasn’t changed his mind on foreign competition for local start-ups since his recent complaint about ‘capital dumping’


Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal hasn’t changed his mind on foreign competition since his recent complaint about “capital dumping”. Earlier this week, he warned about the rise of “selective globalization” and called for India to respond in kind. He is not alone; Ola and some domestic venture capital firms have been reading from the same script.

When phrases like “level playing field” are thrown around, it’s a sign that there is need for a dose of healthy scepticism. This is particularly true in the current instance. The companies that have complained about foreign capital, predatory pricing and disruption have built their market positions on the back of foreign funding and low pricing that has undercut existing local competition and priced it out of relevance. Given this, their current arguments are difficult to swallow.

History shows that the infant industry logic doesn’t work. Consumers pay the cost in the form of inflated prices and substandard products. It would be a mistake for India to be swept away by the rising tide of protectionism.

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