Walmart bets big on India, eyes learnings

Standing out:Flipkart’s logistics and payments business made it unique, says Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.Reuters  

U.S. retail giant Walmart on Wednesday said India would become a key centre of learning for the global operations of the firm with its buying a controlling stake in Flipkart for $16 billion.

“We are learning how to build and how to partner to build retail ecosystems around the world. India will now become the key centre of learning for our entire company,” Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart, said in an analyst call.

He emphasised that Flipkart was more than just a marketplace and its logistics and payments business made it unique. Judith McKenna, COO, Walmart said not only was Flipkart innovative with problem solving, but also “doing some great work in AI space and [in] using data across their platforms,...particularly the payments platform they have created.”

Mr. McMillon said Flipkart had leadership positions in some of the most attractive categories in the Indian retail market, including apparel, mobile, electronics and large appliances.

‘PhonePe crucial’

“The PhonePe payments business supports the growth and development of e-commerce, delivering innovations to merchants and customers to simplify transactions.” Flipkart’s supply chain arm eKart serves more than 800 cities, making 5 lakh deliveries daily. “We will be able to learn how pieces of the ecosystem work and take the learning to other parts of the world… there is a strong technology team here.. we will get learning out of Flipkart,” he said.