Amazon has finally entered India by launching Amazon.in. While they've had a presence here for a while and even operated Junglee.com to test the waters, this is a momentous step and hopefully a sign of better times to come. However, just like Flipkart has done in the last few months, Amazon too is tiptoeing around Indian government FDI regulations on multi-brand retail by not positioning itself as a seller. It is, instead, a marketplace where it allows multi-sellers to, er, sell multi-brands.
Flipkart exploits a loophole by selling items via WS Retail with a couple of other sellers thrown in for appearance's sake. Amazon too does something similar by selling goods via partner companies. For example, Dan Brown's Inferno is being "Sold by Amazing Buy and Fulfilled by Amazon". Amazing Buy is the "Online Business Division of India Book Distributors (Bombay)". Steve Jobs' biography is currently "Sold by uRead-shop and Fulfilled by Amazon". URead appears to be an online book retailer based out of New Delhi.
Until GoI changes its tune on multi-brand retail (or at least its online variant), we're going to be stuck with these middlemen. But, something's better than nothing, right?
In the meantime, I wish Amazon well in its lobbying.