A day after Flipkart made a fresh start in the refurbished goods market with its platform 2GUD, its old strategic partner — global ecommerce company eBay — announced plans to enter the Indian market independently. eBay is starting an export business to facilitate Indian sellers to sell across its major markets.
At the same time, it is taking over the eBay.in domain from ecommerce company Flipkart, which was recently acquired by Walmart.
A company spokesperson confirmed the development to ET, saying, “We are immediately focused on the cross-border trade opportunity and encourage India-based sellers to continue to take advantage of eBay’s global platform and sell to customers around the world.”
The duo entered into a strategic partnership last year in which eBay Inc acquired a 5.44% stake in Flipkart in exchange for its eBay India business for $211 Mn and a $514 Mn cash investment. As part of the partnership, Flipkart decided to use the eBay’s platform for global outsourcing.
In a media statement after Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart, the company had said that the company planned to relaunch Indian operations with a differentiated offer to focus initially on the cross-border trade opportunity.
Earlier this month, during an earnings call, CEO Devin Wenig said, “In India, we will start with exports, meaning Indian sellers selling on other marketplace platforms around the world; that was something that we turned over to Flipkart. We are going to get that back upon the closing of the transaction. So, we will light up the Indian seller base to sell across all of our major markets.”
He added that the second thing for eBay would be to restart its operations in India “with a differentiated import inventory”, but declined to disclose any specific timeline of the launch.
eBay: Exploring The Indian Market
After its breakup with Flipkart, reports had surfaced that eBay was holding talks for a merger with a few ecommerce players, including ShopClues, to re-enter the Indian market.
The company entered the Indian market way back in 2004 and started its operations here with the acquisition of the News Corp-backed Bazee.com.
Later, it also invested a significant amount in ecommerce player Snapdeal to claim a piece of the burgeoning Indian ecommerce market. eBay eventually wrote down a $61 Mn investment in Snapdeal in February 2018.
According to a recent Statistic report, sales-associated international selling sites will cross $3.5 Tn by 2019, whereas the global cross-border ecommerce market size is expected to double over the next four years to reach $424 Bn by 2021.
With eBay choosing to be a solo warrior in the increasingly competitive ecommerce industry where players like Walmart-Flipkart, Amazon, Google, etc, are looking for consolidations, its venture into exports may give eBay a chance to explore the market on its own terms.
[The development was reported by ET.]