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Flipkart Gears Up To Counter Offline Retail Biggies

Flipkart Gears Up To Counter Offline Retail Biggies

Flipkart chairman Sachin Bansal is planning to bring together ecommerce companies to create a lobby group to counter brick-and-mortar retailers, reported ET.

Offline retailers like Aditya Birla Group and the Future Group, are seen to be influencing government policies through organisations like the Retailers Association of India (RAI).

Multiple sources close to the development said that Bansal, along with the heads of several other ecommerce & internet-based companies, recently met minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha to discuss the concerns of the online sector.

Reportedly Flipkart chairman also took the initiative to send personal invites to his counterparts in other commerce platforms for the meeting with Sinha. Flipkart spokesperson declined to comment on the matter. Sources said Amazon was not invited. Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl was invited but could not participate because of another engagement. Bahl, sources said, communicated to Bansal that he supported the initiative.

A senior executive who was present at the meeting said, “All key players are realising the effect an association like RAI creates on the whole ecosystem. Most of us have our own different paths and strategies, but some issues are common to all and these could be addressed better as a group.”

In another development, Flipkart chairman Sachin Bansal said the company is not looking at raising fresh funds. “We have enough funding to last us a long period of time,” he said on Wednesday. Flipkart last raised $700 Mn in July 2015.

Earlier this month, rival Amazon announced that it will invest another $3 Bn in India, in the next few years. In April 2016, in order to grab the largest share in the ecommerce marketplace in India, Amazon India almost doubled its authorised capital to $2.4 Bn (INR 16,000 Cr), exceeding its capital commitment of $2 Bn, committed in July 2014.

Bansal also played down the markdowns by some mutual funds, stating “Uber too was marked down by mutual funds, but it raised money at a higher valuation than in previous rounds. I don’t think much about the markdowns.”

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