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Emergence Of India’s Reliance A Threat For American Firms Like Amazon, Walmart

Emergence Of India’s Reliance A Threat For American Firms Like Amazon, Walmart
The aim of India’s Reliance of getting closer to transforming into a digital giant can be helped by the $20 billion fund raising spree that the company concluded recently. According to analysts that can be a threat to ambitious plans of United States based companies like Amazon, Walmart and Zoom have set for the Indian market.
In addition to private equity and sovereign wealth funds, companies like Google and Facebook were also attracted to the sale of stake in Reliance’s digital unit Jio Platforms which provides a strong base for acknowledgement of the company as a possible digital giant even though it was largely on oil refining company just a few years ago.
According to some industry analysts, the scope and extent of the plans of Joi’s digital arm which ranges from online shopping and cloud computing to telecom and digital payments is similar to those of China’s Alibaba and Tencent.
The track record of Reliance as a firm is also one that is known for disrupting rival businesses. In a span of just four years, the telecom venture Jio of the conglomerate has dethroned market leaders Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, helped by its cheap smartphones and data plans. Hio is now the largest telecom operator in India.
The expansion of Jio’s e-commerce platform JioMart that aims to connect small retailers with consumers will include electronics and fashion goods in addition to groceries, said Reliance’s billionaire chairman Mukesh Ambani.
“Jio Platforms not only has the backend infrastructure and development capabilities but also an ever expanding captive consumer base,” said Mayank Vishnoi of Singapore-based financial advisory firm Resfeber International. “The addition of new digital products targeting various sectors will pose threats to many large dominant players. Having strategic partners like Facebook and Google validates that Reliance gameplan is real.”
A foreign partner for JioMart, which was launched this year, became available to the copany after the recent stake sales. For example, in the process of connecting small retailers to JioMart, a major role will be played by Facebook’s WhatsApp, which looks at the Indian market as one of its most important one and has more than 400 million users.
“We will cover many more cities, serve many more customers across India, and expand to many more categories,” said Ambani.
“Amazon and Walmart should be scared”, one local industry executive who advises US multinationals was quoted in the media as saying on Wednesday.
It is also certain that Reliance’s venture into e-commerce will be met with stiff competition from Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart since both the companies have very strong financial backing as ell as a well established warehousing and logistics supply chain in the Indian market.
There were no comments available from Walmart, Flipkart and Amazon.
Reliance offers a wide array of products through its retail network of around 11,000 stores across 6,700 cities in India. 45 top international brands including Tiffany & Co, Burberry and Jimmy Choo, are also partners with it.
And the digital plans of Reliance go beyond e-commerce.
JioMeet, a video conferencing platform is seeking to rival US based Zoom Video Communications. The company said on Wednesday that it education and healthcare solutions via its JioMeet video conferencing tool will be developed by it. This platform notched up more than 5 million users within days of its launch earlier this month.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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