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Google turns ambitious in India: Eyes solo e-commerce play by Diwali


Once upon a time, Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of Tata Group said that “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together”. However, global search engine giant Google seems to be grabbing opportunities in the Indian e-commerce market either way.

Two months ago, the US-based company was planning to invest in Flipkart to foray into the e-commerce business as a stakeholder. This scenario has changed as the current status of Google’s investment in Flipkart seems uncertain.

The Sundar Pichai-steered company reportedly plans to go solo and launch its own e-commerce platform which may start from India by Diwali.

According to a Business Standard report, Google has been planning to enter the Indian e-commerce ecosystem for the last one year.

We aren’t sure about Google’s e-commerce blueprint dedicated to India, as such interest from the company has never been vocalized or surfaced.

The company’s interest in Indian online commerce may be a result of its recent $550 million investment in China’s second-largest Internet retailer JD.com.

Caser Sengupta is likely to head the e-commerce unit for the company in India. For uninitiated, Sengupta has been leading Google’s Next Billion Users program which is focused on helping the non-English speaking population in emerging markets, primarily in India.

Google, however, calls the report speculative but its appetite towards commerce appears to be driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO) in one of the fledgeling e-commerce global economies.

If Google gets into online commerce in India, the ongoing fight would be more expensive for incumbents Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm Mall, and others.

While Google’s rivalry with Amazon is a long story, the company’s stand on Walmart-owned Flipkart would be an interesting case to observe. So far, Google has been running its business directly or indirectly with Walmart in many countries including US and China.

The report further added that the search giant has been associated with around 2,000 workshops which are helping the company identify sellers on its e-commerce platform. It has also partnered with business chambers for digital programmes.

Instead of burning a lot of capital on discounts and cash back, Google is likely to follow a frugal approach to lure customers.

Sensing an opportunity in digital payment segment, Google had launched UPI-powered app Tez in 2017. Gradually, it has been gaining decent ground in terms of peer to peer fund transfer and utility bill payments. Recently, it launched Datally, a mobile data manager that will help you monitor, save, and gain control over data.

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