eBay is reportedly in talks to lead an investment in Paytm Mall in an effort to branch into offline-to-online commerce in India.
According to a report in the Economic Times, citing two people aware of the deal, eBay is expected to lead an investment of $160 million to $170 million, with the deal slated to be announced in May. This would be the third investment eBay has made in India, as it has also invested in Snapdeal and Flipkart. As the report stated, eBay will continue to run its online portal in the country, even with the investment. The company had owned 6.55 percent of Flipkart, but exited its investment when Walmart acquired the online retailing giant last year.
The investment comes as Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma won support from the board to bring in new investors to push back against rivals Alibaba and SoftBank. One of the sources told the paper eBay has been looking at ways to invest in the big and growing Indian eCommerce market ever since it exited its stake in Flipkart.
eBay isn't the only U.S. eCommerce giant eyeing the India eCommerce market. Amazon and Walmart have been investing heavily in the region. In late March, reports surfaced that Amazon plans to launch kiosks in India that will enable consumers to purchase its Kindle e-reader, the Echo smart speaker and the Fire TV Stick. Amazon is planning to install 100 kiosks in malls across the country by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said earlier in April that the retailer is committed to the Indian market and that it presents a huge opportunity for the company. However, at the beginning of 2019, new eCommerce rules kicked in with the aim of protecting local merchants. Under the rules, online marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart were banned from selling products of any companies in which they had stakes, and prohibited them from inking exclusive deals with vendors. That prompted both Walmart and Amazon to overhaul their business models in the country.