India opens its doors to foreign retail giants

The Indian Parliament has decided to allow foreign investors into the multi-brand retail market, opening its doors to worldwide distribution giants like Tesco, Carrefour or Walmart.

This initiative allows foreign firms to control 51% of all commercial projects, such as supermarkets or hypermarkets. Up until now, the law only allowed retail selling in partnership with local firms.

The opening of the retail market has not been an easy battle for the Government. It was proposed for the first time in late 2011, but the Government retracted given the immense opposition that the measure aroused, as it was stated that more than 12 million growers and owners of small family businesses, known as "kiranas", could be ruined by it.

Multinationals like the North American Walmart, the French Carrefour and the British Tesco have long-awaited the opening of the Indian retail market. Several distribution giants are already present in the market of a country with more than 1,200 million inhabitants.

According to data from the industry, the arrival to India of firms such as Walmart, Carrefour or Tesco could double the sector's value in the next three years, reaching 620,000 million Euro.

In any case, and despite the fact that the new law has been passed by both chambers of the Parliament, the local governments of India's 28 states will have the final word on its enforcement, and several of them announced their opposition to it.


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