Hi Friends,

Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.

There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"

With regards,
Hemen Parekh
27 June 2013

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Defining E-Commercce

amitabh.kant@nic.in



Dear Amitabh ,


Wishing you good-luck with your meetings today


Regards,

hemen

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Defining     E - Commerce


A report in Hindustan Times ( 15 July 2015 )  talks about a series of
 meetings expected to be held today between Commerce Minister and
different stake-holders , to define " e-Commerce "


I am reminded of the story of the 7 blind men , each trying to describe an
 elephant by touching different limbs of the animal


It was obvious they could not arrive at a commonly agreed upon description,
since their perceptions differed


Before trying to define " e-Commerce " , we must first define " Commerce "


In pre-historic times , persons produced whatever they needed to survive


Then they learned to " barter " things produced by each other


The only concepts were , " need " and " surplus "


That lead to introduction of a concept called " Value " , which manifested itself in the form of a stick , a weapon , a goat or a piece of animal skin , till it became , some sort of coin


When barter gave way to an exchange of some goods ( or service ) , for its perceived " Value " ( as measured in coins ) , it became " Commerce "


So , we can conclude that :


" E - Commerce " is nothing more than " Commerce " , where such exchange of values , take place electronically , as opposed to physically . It still remains Commerce , even when perceptions differ



Hence , regulations / controls / taxation etc that govern E-Commerce should , essentially remain the same as in case of Commerce


Ditto for FDI in e-Commerce


Mere elimination of an intermediary ( Distributor / Wholesaler / Dealer / Agent / Stockist etc ) , from the " Supply Chain " , itself cannot be the determining criteria


A few years back , when General Motors , tried to sell its cars to end-customers , directly from its own web site , thousands of its Brick-and-Mortar dealers protested and even threatened General Motors


GM had to back-out against the vested interests  !


But when Michael Dell started manufacturing computers in his garage , he took orders on his telephone and later , on his own web site.


 He never appointed any dealers . This model became a roaring success and heralded the beginning of E-Commerce era ( read , " Direct from Dell " )


Under present guidelines , I suppose , India would allow Dell to set up a wholly-owned , local manufacturing facility , with 100 % FDI


Now , if Dell starts selling those India-made computers , directly to end-consumers ,  from its own web site , would not that be E-Commerce  ?


An e-Commerce with 100 % FDI ?


And what about 100 % FDI by FoxConn ( Taiwan ) , wanting to set up 10 factories in India , to manufacture electronics goods , not only for Foreign giants like Apple / Samsung etc but also for local brands such as Micromax ?


Shall we insist that FoxConn cannot deliver such goods directly to Indian consumers , based on orders received on , not only web sites of Amazon / e-Bay but also on local web sites of Flipkart / SnapDeal etc  ?


It is unfortunate that we , in India , always look-up to the discoveries / inventions taking place in the West ( - and in Japan / South Korea etc )


Had we encouraged Prof Jhunjhunwala ( IIT - Madras ) , we could be today , delivering internet thru common electric outlet in every home , at speeds of 100 mb ! - That would have Digitized India , 5 years ago !


When ISRO sent MOM ( Mars Orbiting Mission ) , it did not call it a " Space Ship "


As long as the concept of " Ship " defines our thought processes , we will continue to " Sail in a Sea " - never to traverse the " Space "  !


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
hemen  parekh
15 July , 2015
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