Walmart is in talks to buy a 15%-20% stake in FlipKart, India’s leading e-commerce company, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday. The minority investment would give Walmart a foothold in a market that rival Amazon first entered in 2013. Amazon and FlipKart have both committed upward of $5 billion in capital to growing their India operations.
Walmart has accelerated its investments in online retail since acquiring Jet.com in 2016 and installing Jet.com founder Marc Lore as head of e-commerce. In rapid succession, he has snapped up Bonobos, Moosejaw, ShoeBuy, and ModCloth, while encouraging experimentation with Walmart.com.
Amazon, for its part, has indicated that succeeding in India is a top priority for CEO Jeff Bezos. Determined to avoid Amazon’s fate in China, Bezos launched his Indian charm offensive on a visit to Bangalore in 2014, wearing a Nehru jacket and riding a lorry festooned with flowers. Amazon began gaining momentum in the months that followed.
FlipKart, based in Bangalore, was founded in 2007 by two Amazon.com alums. The company has raised $7.3 billion from investors including Tencent Holdings, Microsoft, and SoftBank Vision Fund.AH