外文标题：Inspired by Alibaba and its Indian clones, Tata Group to get into e-commerce space
NEW DELHI: The Tata Group plans a bigbang entry into the Indian ecommerce space with the marketplace model that has been made immensely successful by Alibaba — which just made a record initial public offering in the US — and has also been emulated domestically by Flipkart, Amazon India and Snapdeal, according to two people familiar with Tata Group's plans.
The initiative will be led by Tata Industries Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Tata Sons that shepherds the group's entry into new businesses, and not by its existing retail units, said one of the persons.
"Tata Industries incubates new businesses as they have done with Tata's entry into auto components and telecom ventures," said the person, who didn't want to be named. "Then such businesses are taken forward by their respective units." A Tata Sons spokesperson said the group is eyeing the country's ecommerce business but did not elaborate on plans. "Suffice it to say that ecommerce is of interest to the Tata Group. We will share more information at the appropriate moment," the person said.
To be sure, Tata already operates an ecommerce site for its consumer electronics business Croma, but the marketplace model will allow any vendor to sell on the platform, similar to what Amazon or Flipkart do in India. Ecommerce marketplaces make money by charging fee or commission from merchants using them.
Tata is modeling its business on Tmall.com, the Alibaba Group's marketplace, said the second person cited above. This, along with twin B2C marketplace Taobao.com, generated about $248 billion in gross merchandise sales last year for the Chinese company, more than that of Amazon.com and eBay put together.
The yet-to-be-named marketplace is planned to be rolled out next year and will initially showcase Tata's existing retail chain brands such as Westside, Croma and Star Bazaar. Tata is also working to rope in joint venture partner Zara, which otherwise sells online only through its own sites globally, to sell on the platform, the person added.
Tata has already started the process of hiring people as well enrolling vendors for its marketplace, the person said.
India's ecommerce market has been red-hot in recent years with market leader Flipkart clocking a valuation of $7 billion in a July funding round when it raised $1 billion from a clutch of existing investors. A day later, Amazon announced plans to invest $2 billion in India.
India's online retail business is expected to surge to between $19 billion and 38 billion, from about $2.3 billion in annual sales now, according to consultancy firm Technopak Advisors.
Enticed by the potential, several Indian companies, including Reliance Industries, are planning online retailing forays. Tata has a sizeable presence in real-world retail, which includes high-profile JVs with Britain's Tesco, Spain's Zara and No. 1 coffee chain Starbucks. Interestingly, Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested personally in Snapdeal and online jewellery retailer Bluestone in recent months.
Tata;s entry will be beneficial to customers. Their business ethics is not looting.
K.K. Nair (Kuwait)
There is room for more big players on e-commerce platform which is on nascent stage in India. It will be wonderful to see TATAs too there, so that one could deal without any hesitation, as in their other businesses.
Ecommerce marketplaces make money by charging fee or commission from merchants using them
Vishwa Kumar MC (Bengaluru)
Good move from Tata, hope they succeed in this.
Manish Bhatt (New Delhi, India)
Is Tata making a late entry? Hope they again deliver a global brand.
Brig Rajendar Kumar (Gurgaon)
TATA has very good reputation and work ethics to quickly occupy the e commerce space in the World.
Gs Rajput (Agra)
Tata group will do this with style. The most respectable company of Asia...........