India is a massive market with relatively puny e-commerce volume and therefore a must-have opportunity for the world’s biggest retailers. Amazon already is pumping $5bn into its hoped-for Indian marketplace. And Walmart is said to be finalizing a $15bn controlling investment in e-commerce startup Flipkart there.
So far this all makes sense. Walmart got schooled in North America by Amazon. Neither company has covered itself in glory in the tough-to-win China market. Competing in India is an existential must for Walmart, the retailer that disrupted Kmart and Sears and doesn’t want to end up as the 21st century version of those dinosaurs.
But wait, there’s more. Alphabet, parent of search-results publisher (see what I did there?), Google is said to be investing alongside Walmart. That makes perfect sense if you consider the battle between Google and Amazon. Each competes to fulfill shopper needs, Google through search ads and Amazon through its own retail platform. Each has thrived but wants more share of future transactions. Enter Walmart on the side of Google. The two already announced a limited partnership last year and now are showing they’ll continue to partner against their common foe.
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