Indian e-tailer Flipkart raises R11bn

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CorporateBusiness

Mumbai - Flipkart, India's largest e-tailer, said on Tuesday it raised a fresh round of funding worth $1 billion (R10.6 billion) as it tries to aggressively scale up after Amazon.com's rapid expansion in the country has heated up competition.

Flipkart, founded in 2007 by two former Amazon employees, has raised $760 million since its launch and the recent funding round is the largest for an Indian e-tailer.

The company said Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC participated in the fundraising along with existing investors Tiger Global Management and the South African media company Naspers.

The company, which is popular for selling books and electronics online, operates as a marketplace that allows third-party vendors to sell products on the site.

Earlier this year Flipkart acquired fashion portal Myntra and crossed $1 billion in gross merchandise value.

Amazon, which entered India last June, has taken on rivals by slashing prices, launching next-day delivery, adding new product categories and embarking on a high-voltage advertisement campaign.

The companies vying for a bigger slice of the Indian online retail market include Flipkart, New Delhi-based marketplace Snapdeal, fashion e-tailer Jabong, and global giants Amazon and eBay.

The Indian e-commerce market was worth $13 billion in 2013, with online travel accounting for over 70 percent of consumer e-commerce transactions.

Online sales of retail goods totalled $1.6 billion in 2013, according to research firm Forrester, and are expected to reach $76 billion by 2021, Technopak said.

By comparison, China's business and consumer e-commerce sales may surpass $180 billion this year, with industry leader Alibaba readying an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States. - Reuters



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