Sachin Dalal, co-founder of Infibeam, the Ahmedabad based eCommerce portal that became the first Indian ecommerce firm to get listed, will now be super-heading Japanese eCommerce giant Rakuten’s foray in the Indian market, reports Economic Times.
Rakuten, a Tokyo-based company which is among the top 10 companies globally in terms of revenues, had announced earlier this week that it was exiting various global markets, including UK, Austria and Spain amid dwindling prospects.
However, the eCommerce market is booming in India and with the kind of opportunities available, it is said that Rakuten appointed Sachin Dalal earlier this month who will now put together a team in India for the business that will compete with the likes of Amazon, Flipkart and other Indian ventures.
The company is expected to start its marketplace in India next year. It opened a development centre in Bengaluru in 2014, and soon started poaching mid-level managers from Flipkart and Amazon for its India marketplace.
Alibaba already has an indirect presence in India through its investments in Indian e-commerce companies PayTm and Snapdeal. It holds a majority share of more than 40% in PayTm while a minority share in Snapdeal.
Rakuten has been focusing on expansion strategy and India is on the map. On global fronts, it acquired Buy-.com in the US in 2010, in a $250-million all cash deal as part of its push into North America. In 2014, it acquired San Francisco-based online cash back company Ebates Inc for $1 billion which deals with a host of US retailers including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Macy’s, and Home Depot.
It has also acquired Viber, an internet messaging and calling service for $900 million. Apart from acquisition, it has also made investments in more than 20 companies, including Lyft, Pinterest, BlueVine, Cabify, Ripple.co, etc.
It will be interesting to see how Rakuten disrupts the Indian eCommerce market, specially in times where US-based Amazon announced $3 billion additional investments to India, while Chinese ecommerce behemoth Alibaba already holds significant stakes in two of India’s largest ecommerce and digital businesses as a whole — Paytm and Snapdeal.
There have been speculations about Alibaba raising its stake in PayTm to 70% and Paytm spinning off its e-commerce marketplace to help Alibaba in its organic expansion into the country. However, nothing is confirmed yet, apart from the fact that it is planning to enter India. It recently hired former LocalOye Chief Business Officer for its India team.
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