(Source: Hindustan Times | January 18, 2019)
Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. will roll out its online shopping platform to 1.2 million retailers and store-owners in India, starting on an ambitious plan to take on Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart on its home turf.
Asia’s richest man, Ambani intends to take on the world’s largest retailers by combining his Jio telecom service, mobile devices and a vast physical retail network. A new offline-to-online platform will probably be launched in 12 to 18 months across the country, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the plans aren’t public.
The energy-to-consumer conglomerate joins Amazon and Flipkart in expanding aggressively in the world’s fastest-growing major e-commerce market, where organized retail is still a rarity. Jio currently has 280 million telecom subscribers, while Ambani’s retail arm operates nearly 10,000 outlets across more than 6,500 Indian cities and towns.
“Jio and Reliance Retail will launch a unique new commerce platform to empower and enrich our 12 lakh (1.2 million) small retailers and shopkeepers in Gujarat,” the Reliance chairman said.
Ambani has been gradually revealing details of his plans in e-commerce. In July, he said his platform would use augmented reality, holographs and virtual reality to create an “immersive shopping experience.”
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