Flipkart battles Amazon for India e-shopping dominance

NEW DELHI, June 4, 2014 (AFP) – India’s online retailers are bulking up on acquisitions and funding as they battle the world’s biggest Internet shopping giant, Amazon, for supremacy in the hyper-competitive domestic market. Late last month, Flipkart, India’s largest e-shopping portal, announced the takeover of rival Myntra in a deal analysts estimated at $330 million — the largest of a string of transactions in the sector over the past two years.

“With Amazon entering the fray, it’s forcing domestic players to get critical mass to compete,” Ashish Jhalani, founder of Indian consultancy eTailing, told AFP.

“It’s still a fragmented sector and there’s more consolidation to come. It’s becoming a battle for survival,” he said.

For Flipkart, founded by two ex-Amazon employees, the game’s not just about beating their former Seattle-based employer on Indian turf. Flipkart wants to become the Indian version of the Chinese online shopping juggernaut Alibaba.

“Our role model is Alibaba,” Flipkart’s co-founder Sachin Bansal told reporters, adding there’s “a lot of similarity between the Chinese and Indian online retail markets”.

“What’s happening in China is inspiring — it’s bigger than anything in the US,” B