Sensing a missed opportunity, the Tata Group has decided to get a slice of India's increasingly lucrative e-retail market to emulate players like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, according to a report.
Citing unnamed sources, The Economic Times said today that the Tatas would enter e-commerce through its subsidiary Tata Industries Ltd, "and not through its existing retail units".
The report said that the launch is likely next year, and Tata Sons will share more information at the ''appropriate moment".
The Tata venture will be like any other online marketplace that facilitates transactions between third-party suppliers and customers. However it will initially showcase Westside, Croma and Star Bazaar, which are Tata's existing retail chain brands.
Last month, Ratan Tata, the former chairman of salt-to-steel Tata conglomerate, bought a stake in Indian online retailer Snapdeal (See: Ratan Tata invests in Snapdeal as Tata Value ties up online home sales), joining a list of funds who have invested in the country's growing e-commerce industry.
Indian online firms have been raising funds to compete with bigger rival US-based Amazon.com Inc, and expand as more Indians shop online.
Snapdeal raised $100 million earlier this year from five investors including Singapore's Temasek Holdings.
Flipkart, the country's largest online retailer, raised $1 billion in July to scale up and counter increasing competition, while Amazon has said it would invest more than $2 billion in the country.