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 — firstname.lastname@example.org .
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:
Interactive Entertainment South Africa (IESA)
App Developer Studio
Google and Google Play
Travel accommodation platforms
Xtreme Car Rental
Google search, travel and shopping
Sisters on the Move
Restaurant Association of South Africa
Sandown Motor Holdings