Competition Commission sets sights on big tech

The Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry (OIPMI) at the Competition Commission has released the schedule of participants for the public hearings to be on 2–19 November 2021.

The Competition Commission announced its inquiry in February , stating that it would encompass companies such as Takealot, Uber Eats, and Airbnb.

It specifically singled out Takealot as an important focus of its investigation because of its share of the local ecommerce sector and the dual role played by the company as an online marketplace and a seller of products.

The Competition Commission raised concerns over potential conflicts of interest when a platform operator offers a marketplace for sellers while also being a merchant itself.

It said that this may provide companies with the incentive to favour themselves and squeeze out competitors.

Takealot is also much bigger than any other online retailer in South Africa, which the Commission stated warrants concern over its potential dominance of the market.

“In ecommerce, Takealot (including Superbalist) is substantially larger than other online platforms and operates a marketplace on which many business users are now dependent as a route to market,” it said.

The Commission stated that the following sectors would be investigated as part of the inquiry:

  • Ecommerce marketplaces
  • Online classifieds
  • Travel and accommodation aggregators
  • Short term accommodation intermediation
  • Food delivery
  • App stores
  • Other platforms identified in the course of the inquiry

Other platforms named explicitly in the document included Airbnb, Mr D Food, Uber Eats, TravelStart, Autotrader, Cars.co.za, Property24, Private Property, the Google Play Store, and the Apple App Store.

It later clarified that the inquiry would not be limited to South African ecommerce businesses and would include international players like Amazon .

While most of the slots for its upcoming hearings have been allocated, the Commission said it is still confirming time slots with a few participants and the final schedule will be published on 27 October.

Any online platforms, business users or industry organisations that still wish to participate may approach the Commission prior to this date through email — oipmi@compcom.co.za .

The public hearings will be virtual and the public can watch the hearings on the Competition Commission’s YouTube channel .

The following companies have confirmed presentation slots during the public hearings:

App stores

Huawei
Interactive Entertainment South Africa (IESA)
App Developer Studio
Devon Software
SAVCA
Naspers
Google and Google Play

Travel accommodation platforms

Tripco
SA Venues
SAVRALA
Flightsite
Avis
Xtreme Car Rental
Google search, travel and shopping
AKTV
Travelstart
Expedia

Ecommerce platforms

BidorBuy
Adeo
Red puppy
Elite Shopper
Makro
Takealot
Price Check
Delivery platforms

Dryver
Buzz Delivery
Sisters on the Move
UberEats
Quench
Paarl Eats
We Dash
Restaurant Association of South Africa
MrD
Famous Brands
Bolt Food

Online classifieds

MyProperty
Private Property
0800Properties
Property24
Autotrader
Carfind
Cars.co.za
Sandown Motor Holdings
eDreams

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