MUMBAI • Amazon.com Inc is on a shopping spree in India.
Helmed by the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, Amazon has bought into one brick-and-mortar retailer, backed purchase of another and is reported to be in talks to acquire a stake in at least one more as the online retailing giant looks to get more boots on the ground in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
Amazon’s bite-sized purchases into smaller traditional retailers will help it gain greater access to smaller cities and offline consumers in a country where it’s betting US$5 billion (RM20.95 billion) to expand aggressively.
India is arguably the last big market for Amazon after the US e-commerce giant missed out on China, the world’s other large market that’s dominated by local rivals.
It had also pursued Flipkart Online Services Pte Ltd, India’s leading e-commerce company and its biggest local rival, before losing the deal to Walmart Inc.
Picking up stakes in Shoppers Stop, More Future Retail Ltd and others will give Amazon “tonnes of data” on shopping trends and access to customers in smaller cities who may not want to buy online, according to Santosh Kanekar, Mumbai-based founder of advisory, BeLive Corp. “Amazon always plays the long game and the long game in India is omni-channel.”
Spokespersons at Amazon and More Future Retail declined to comment.