South Africa Probes Online Trading Platforms

The South African Competition Commission has announced that it will be conducting a market inquiry to assess the competitiveness of “middle man” online trading platform service providers, who intermediate transactions between consumers and businesses. 

The “Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry”  will be conducted in terms of Chapter 4A of the Competition Act, 89 of 1998, following the emergence of complaints regarding the sector, the commission said. 

The focus for the inquiry will be on online intermediation services which intermediate online transactions between business and consumers for goods, services and software. Such platforms include eCommerce platforms, travel aggregators, food delivery, short-term accommodation rentals, online classifieds, and app stores.

“The commission may initiate an inquiry where it has reason to believe that there exist market features which impede, distort or restrict competition amongst the platforms themselves, and which undermine the purposes of the Act,” the Commission stated,

Digital platform markets have been at the forefront of global competition law debates in recent years due to the growing importance of digital platforms in the economy and the high levels of concentration in many of these markets.

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