RIL plans a big splash into online retail business
21 January 2019
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has announced plans to enter e-commerce business in a big way, combining the strengths of the group’s retail arm Reliance retail and telecom arm Reliance Jio creating a national presence covering all nooks and corners of the country.
Reliance Jio has 280 million subscribers while Reliance Retail has over 10,000 points of sale. Besides, the company will use lakhs of shops that sell Jio connections to fulfil orders in small towns. A combination of these would create an entity that can take on all of current online retail companies, including Flipkartt and Amazon.
Reliance, which has a growing customer base with expanding customer touchpoints that is already huge, plans to start online retail operations in home state Gujarat and gradually expand to cover all states and union territories.
Ambani announced the plans to enter e-commerce at the annual Vibrant Gujarat Summit over the weekend, putting to rest all speculation around the group’s entry into the fiercely fought turf. The idea of combining the offline retail network of Reliance Retail and the online reach of Reliance Jio to 12 lakh retailers to begin with (in Gujarat alone), would make an unbeatable force.
Reliance’s online retail plans, as Ambani had outlined earlier in the year, will be using "augmented reality, holographic technology and VR devices", to create what he described as a "personalised immersive shopping experience".
The operations, to be launched in April-May this year, will be a "commerce platform to create shared prosperity".
Earlier, on Friday, Ambani also announced plans to invest Rs3,00,000 crore in various projects in the next 10 years in Gujarat, that may range from energy and petrochemical to new technology and digital business.
In December, the government had changed the rules to stop foreign controlled ecommerce companies from selling via companies in which they owned the stake. The rules also say that these sellers cannot sell exclusively on the parent platform. The move affects both Flipkart and Amazon.
Speaking at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Ambani also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps against 'data colonisation', specially by global corporations, stating that Indian data must be owned by Indians.