Mukesh Ambani Takes On Amazon, Walmart in E-Commerce Slugfest

Mumbai: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) plans to take on the likes of Inc. and Walmart-owned Flipkart Group in retail by creating an platform that combines online and conventional shopping. RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani outlined the plan on Thursday at the company’s 41st annual general meeting (AGM) in Mumbai. The effort will involve the group’s Reliance Retail Ltd and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd businesses, he said. The latter will also introduce a fiber-based broadband service—JioGigaFiber—on 15 August.

Mint had first reported on Reliance’s e-commerce plan on 14 June.
Global retail powerhouses like Amazon and Walmart have been investing in India’s retail industry, where e-commerce sales could more than double to $72 billion by 2022 from $32.7 billion in 2018, research firm eMarketer estimated. The retail-to-refining conglomerate is looking for growth in e-commerce after spending as much as ₹ 2.5 trillion ($36.3 billion) in setting up mobile and fiber broadband infrastructure, Ambani said.
The platform will use augmented reality, holographs and virtual reality to create an “immersive shopping experience,” Ambani said, without giving a timeline or financial targets. The service will be available to small merchants as well, enabling them to “do everything that large enterprises and large e-commerce players are able to do”.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, said in May it will acquire a 77% stake in Flipkart Group for $16 billion, leaving the remainder to Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and other shareholders.
Highlights of the Reliance shareholder meet:
■ Reliance Jio aims to introduce fiber broadband in 1,100 cities nationwide
■ The e-commerce venture will leverage 350 million footfalls in Reliance Retail stores, 215 million Reliance Jio subscribers, and the target of 50 million fiber broadband homes and 30 million small merchants.
■ Reliance Jio has introduced Jio Phone 2, an upgraded version of the feature phone offered for an initial price of ₹2,999. The upgrade allows access to Youtube, Whatsapp and Facebook

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