Just over three months after pouring $260 Mn (INR 1,680 Cr) into Amazon Seller Services, ecommerce behemoth Amazon has infused another $250 Mn (INR 1,620 Cr) in the India-based seller operations unit to tackle competition from rival Flipkart. The latest investment comes at a time when the US-based company is gearing up to infuse fresh funding in its digital payments service, Amazon Pay.
According to its RoC filings, Amazon Seller Services raised the funding last month from Singapore-based Amazon Corporate Holdings and Amazon Mauritius. As part of the transaction, Amazon Seller Services issued 1.6 Bn equity shares to these two entities at a face value of $0.15 (INR 10) apiece.
Commenting on the development, a spokesperson from Amazon told TOI, “We remain committed to our India business with a long-term perspective to make ecommerce a habit for Indian customers and to invest in the necessary technology and infrastructure to grow the entire ecosystem.”
The fresh infusion is part of the ecommerce giant’s $5 Bn overall commitment to India. This fund infusion reiterates Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ statement in April this year when he said that the ecommerce giant’s Indian arm Amazon is India’s most popular marketplace, indicating the company’s intention to keep fuelling in Indian investment.
Earlier in August, the ecommerce giant invested $62.7 Mn (INR 400 Cr) in its Indian logistics arm Amazon Transportation Service, ATS. A month prior to that, it had reportedly fuelled $20 Mn (INR 130 Cr) into digital payments entity, Amazon Pay India, as per regulatory filings.
Around the same time, the company received the final nod from the government for its proposed $500 Mn investment in food retail in India. The proposal states that the company will open a wholly-owned subsidiary in India to carry out the business. It is expected to launch the new food retail venture by Diwali.
In the same month, the US-based eCommerce giant Amazon invested about $52.7 Mn (INR 341 Cr) in Indian subsidiary Amazon Wholesale, as per documents filed with the RoC. Back in June, Amazon infused an additional $32 Mn (INR 207 Cr) in Amazon Transportation Services, the logistics arm of Amazon India. The company had earlier invested $10 Mn (INR 67 Cr) in the logistics platform, in September 2016.
In March 2017, Amazon Online Distribution Services (later renamed as Amazon Pay) received $10.5 Mn from its parent company, through its Singapore unit Amazon Capital Holdings and Amazon.com Inc. Ltd, Mauritius.
In December last earlier, a fresh capital of $23.5 Mn (INR 160 Cr) was injected in the wholesale arm. Prior to that in November. the eCommerce company reportedly poured $214 Mn (INR 1,381 Cr) in its data services unit, Amazon Data Services India. As per regulatory filings, Delhi-registered Amazon Data Services India raised about $212 Mn (INR 1,367 Cr) from its Germany-based entity A100 Row and close to $2 Mn (INR 14 Cr) from Amazon.com.
The company infused $17 Mn in its Indian wholesale arm to increase the transaction of smartphones via its B2B portal, in compliance with revised FDI norms in March 2016.
Amazon Vs. Flipkart: Winner Takes It All Or Does It?
At present, Amazon is embroiled in a tug of war with rivals Flipkart and Paytm. During its recent Amazon Great Indian Sale, held between September 21 and 24, Amazon saw a 2.5x growth in smartphones, while large appliances saw 4x growth over last Diwali led by brands like Samsung, Apple, Bosch & BPL. Amazon also claimed to acquire 85% of the new customers from Tier II and Tier III cities.
This year’s festive season sale saw more than $1.5 Bn worth of sales across ecommerce platforms, with Flipkart claiming the lead position as per a recent RedSeer Consulting report. Part of the reason behind Flipkart’s phenomenal performance this year can be chalked to the massive $2.5 Bn fundraise from Japanese investment giant, Softbank.
To stay ahead of the competition, however, Amazon has been foraying into new segments in recent months. In the first week of October, for instance, Amazon announced the launch of its most awaited product of the year – a smart, wireless speaker, Echo powered by its AI enabled virtual assistant Alexa in India. Amazon Echo will be available on an invite-only basis on the Amazon’s global website in three variants – Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot.
A couple of days later, the eCommerce platform reportedly filed a patent application in India for exclusive rights on multi-scale fiduciary, as part of a move aimed at using drones to handle its delivery operations.
As can be seen from its relentless efforts to capture the Indian market, the latest funding in Amazon Seller Services is just one of the company’s many initiatives geared towards thwarting competition from Flipkart to emerge as the leader in a number of fast-growing sectors, including eCommerce, digital payments, e-grocery and logistics, among others.