Berkshire and the Paytm investment may be just a sign of the times.
The eCommerce war in India is heating up, with a number of marquee names pushing into the space with enormous potential, marked by the continuing embrace of the internet and readiness to render payments over mobile devices.
As for red letter days for some of the giants in digital tech? That would be Diwali, the yearly festival of lights that stretches across five days in early November.
The News Minute reports that Google is getting ready to launch its own eCommerce initiative in the country, with a few corporate actions under its belt. Additionally, it has rebranded its Google Tez digital platform into Google Pay.
If Google does come to bear with those efforts, watch for the landscape to get heated as the holiday may be a proving ground for Google, and, as The News Minute writes, “this news may not sound sweet” to peers and competitors such as Flipkart and Amazon, which have been aggressive in their own drives during this peak shopping time. Another entrant, especially if it is Google, “could spoil the party a bit.” It’s no surprise that there is a fair amount of jockeying for eCommerce, which is estimated to be a $40 billion market, and to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars a few years from now.
With more choice, India’s consumers could take their pick among myriad offerings, and be siphoned from Flipkart and Amazon. The News Minute notes that Google seems to be undertaking a multi-pronged effort. It’s combining a series of joint online/offline offerings from a far-flung merchant roster — with names such as Uber and Big Bazaar — and will even offer loans to customers, which can be repaid through monthly installment terms. The loans are to be extended through banks including HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra and will be done through transactions on Tez, and credited to consumers’ bank accounts. The lending initiative was noted by Google earlier this month.
In other efforts, Google has been focused on bringing Tez to India, where the company is involved with 10 million SMEs and 55 million people use the Google Pay app, which it is now looking to bring to several other countries. The company is eyeing at least some infrastructure uniformity, and several business segments. In reference to capturing businesses that will embrace Google’s eCommerce efforts, Google has held thousands of workshops to identify possible sellers. In other initiatives, the company has been eyeing rural areas, and is recruiting “50,000 Internet Saathis” who can help guide first time consumers through the eCommerce process.