Amazon makes Indian eCommerce play

Online retail giant Amazon is taking its first tentative steps into the Indian market, with the official launch of Junglee — an online shopping aggregator.

According to Amazopia (which bills itself as “the unofficial Amazon blog”), federal regulations stopped Amazon from entering the Indian market under its own branding. The laws are reportedly designed to “restrict foreign companies on multi-brand retail in the country”.

So while the site looks like Amazon and feels like Amazon, the only mention of the company you’ll see is a short message on the bottom right corner of the site saying “Service provided by”.

The online giant is entering a market currently dominated by homegrown firms such as Flipkart.

According to Indian startup blog, Amazon bought Junglee from Indian entrepreneurs Rakesh Mathur and Ashish Gupta back in 2000.

The entry also comes off an aborted attempt by Amazon to buy Flipkart last year. The retail giant was then forced to watch as Flipkart grew massively though the rest of 2011.

India’s eCommerce market is set to take off in a big way as more and more of its billion plus strong population goes online.

At present, only around 10% of the country’s population is online, although Google predicts that this number is set to explode in the next couple of years. The internet giant reckons that at least 300-million Indians will be online come 2014.

Although growing, the Indian eCommerce space is still incredibly small, even when compared to other emerging market players.

Platforms such as online movie and airline ticket sales generate about US$5-billion in revenue in India, a pittance when compared to the US$80-billion generated by the same platforms in China.

A large part of India’s predicted growth is expected to come out of the high-speed wireless networks that carriers are in the process of rolling out countrywide.



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