India’s e-commerce industry is on fire. After eBay doubled down on its India play by investing $133 million in Snapdeal a week ago, the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart, is now looking to build a marketplace for tapping into the country’s e-commerce industry, which is expected to grow sevenfold to $22 billion over next five years.
As this report says, Walmart has already hired a team of over a dozen professionals who are busy fleshing out the marketplace.
We have been hearing about Walmart’s initial interest in acquiring an Indian e-commerce/marketplace. Sources confirmed that Snapdeal was among potential partners Walmart had looked at few months ago, but nothing materialized.
Earlier this year, Walmart established a new company in India after its initial alliance with Bharti Enterprises didn’t work out.
Having tried different ways to make the offline retail entry work, it now seems that the American retailer might just take a pure e-commerce route. But even there, the Indian regulations do not permit foreign investments. And that’s why Walmart is building an e-commerce marketplace.
As reported earlier this year, the Indian government is already considering proposals from Amazon and others to reconsider ban on foreign investments in e-commerce. By building a marketplace in the interim, Walmart plans to be prepared better for a bigger play when necessary approvals come in.
We will add more inputs after hearing from Walmart and others.