Retail battles: Walmart teams up with Flipkart to beat major rival Amazon in India
RETAIL giant Walmart is looking to take on its online nemesis Amazon in India by exploring an equity partnership in with local e-commerce leader Flipkart, according to reports.
The news will be welcomed by the Indian company as it gears up for a major battle for sales with Amazon around the Diwali festival season next month. An alliance could give Flipkart access to Walmart’s global supply chain making in return for a foothold in the Indian e-commerce market that would have taken the American firm years to build.
Early talks have already taken place and a further meeting is due to take place this week, sources told the Economic Times. The scale of the deal is currently unknown though it would be a minority stake.
One of the sources said a “strategic deal” similar to the US$1.5 billion Walmart paid in June for a 5 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com is likely.
“As a policy, we don’t comment on speculative reports,” a Walmart spokesperson told ET in an email. A Flipkart spokesperson told the paper, “It is our policy not to comment on rumors or speculations.”
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The alliance would make sense as Amazon is challenging both companies retail supremacy in their home countries. In August, Walmart purchased e-commerce firm Jet for US$3.3 billion to take on Amazon online and if Flipkart goes ahead this war could spill over into India.
Walmart already has a bricks and mortar presence in India with 21 Best Price wholesale stores across the country, but a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises for consumer facing stores fell through after a corruption inquiry into its Mexico operations prompted an in-depth probe into its India operations that stalled all plans.