Flipkart wants to be an ‘Indian’ company even though Walmart owns it

  • Founded in 2007, Flipkart has been a Singapore-registered entity since 2011 and is today owned by US retail giant Walmart.
  • The US retail giant owns a 77% stake in Flipkart, which it acquired in 2018 for a whopping $16 billion.
  • However, Flipkart wants to stress on the ‘home grown’ part as competition from Amazon grows.
The competition is India’s e-commerce space is hotter than ever before. Amazon, Flipkart, and now, Reliance are fighting each other tooth and nail for the multi-billion dollar online retail pie in India. Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale kicking off today will be the 2nd mega sale for online shoppers this year after Amazon’s Prime Day.

But burning cash through discounts isn’t enough to sustain the business, and all the players know that. Brand differentiation will be key. With that in mind, Flipkart is going for the ‘home grown’ tag.

“We have very less focus on what the competition is doing but instead we focus on what customers are looking for. We take pride in every single thing we have done, it’s a local playbook, it’s not an adaptive playbook from somewhere else. Everything that we do our team brings us together, it’s not something that has happened in the US,” Flipkart’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajneesh Kumar told Business Insider in an interview.

The fact is that Flipkart, founded in 2007, has been a Singapore-registered entity since 2011 and is today owned by US retail giant Walmart. The US retail giant owns a 77% stake in Flipkart, which it acquired in 2018 for a whopping $16 billion. Flipkart’s visionary founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, have now both left the organization, even though Binny continues to hold stake in the e-commerce company.

This is not the first time. The company in multiple interviews has stressed upon being a ‘home-grown company’.

And Flipkart isn’t shy of turning to Walmart when it’s needed. When talking about how Flipkart has a huge focus on the grocery segment, Kumar said, “We have a huge backing of our parent company which is best in grocery. Walmart’s business is 60-70% in food, so whenever Flipkart seeks the help, we can get the best practices.”

However, Kumar is quick to add that, “Walmart really wants to ensure that the Flipkart DNA of entrepreneurial ability sustains. We call it the soft hug.”

Amazon too calls itself ‘India’s Apni Dukaan’

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had famously said, “Amazon is India’s apni dukaan’. Bezos’ gesture acknowledged India’s huge internet market where e-commerce still hasn’t seen its full potential,

According to reports, Amazon expects to have a 35% market share in India by 2023, with the Indian market making up for 4% of its total global sales.

The number of online shoppers in India is expected to grow exponentially and both Amazon and Flipkart do not want the ‘outsider’ image to hamper their prospects.

Ashwin Raghunath contributed to this article.
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