Walmart-Flipkart deal: from wishlist to cart

It will be business as usual at Flipkart, says Binny Bansal

This photo taken on May 9, 2018 shows Walmart CEO Doug McMillon (R) speaking next to Flipkart co-founder and CEO Binny Bansal at an event in Bangalore, as a deal was announced for Walmart to buy a stake in Flipkart.  

Flipkart’s leadership team said nothing was expected to change in the way the company would be run in the next three or four months after US retail giant Walmart picked up a whopping 77% for $16 billion in the online retailer.

“Nothing changes in the next three or four months. We are not looking for change,” Binny Bansal, co-founder of Flipkart, said at a joint press interaction with Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer, on Thursday.

When asked whether a merger of Flipkart and Walmart’s current operations in India was on the cards, Mr. McMillon said online retailing and cash-and-carry were two different types of businesses.

He predicted that India would be more than a two-player e-ecommerce market, a reference to Flipkart’s chief competitor, Amazon. “Over time in India, there will be a more competitive environment.”

Asked about a statement from RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch opposing the Flipkart buyout, Mr. Bansal said the collaboration would create lakhs of jobs in the entire country. No specific figure of direct jobs was, however, provided on account of the new deal.

He stated that the number of online sellers would go up to five lakh from the current 1.3 lakh, creating a large number of jobs. He felt that e-commerce and start-ups were the “two engines” of growth in India.

“Make in India is something exciting for us,” Mr. McMillon said after being asked about the RSS-affiliated group’s statement. Ninety-five per cent of what Walmart sold was procured locally.

He claimed that Walmart’s existing cash-and-carry business was intended to help the farming community in India. Walmart’s operations could help with both the supply chain as well as the cold chain.

Mr. Bansal said the deal with Walmart was a “watershed moment” for the start-up ecosystem in India. This, he felt, would bring a lot of focus on India from investors abroad. “We have now attracted the best of investors.”

Asked whether Flipkart was looking to expand its business to other countries, Mr. Bansal replied that the opportunities in India itself were huge. “We continue to stay invested and growing in this market for now.”

Furniture was a major new addition to the categories of products available on Flipkart.

On the uncertainties following the U.S. pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran, Mr. McMillon merely said, “Time will show that trade is good for people. Trade creates security.”

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 5:43:43 AM |

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