In an effort to tap India's growing middle-class e-market, Amazon.com Inc, the world's largest e-retailer, has launched an interactive marketplace in India, Amazon.in, where sellers can list their products and deal directly with customers.
The US-based Amazon has been around in India for a while, but the move announced in Bangalore today marks its entry as a buy-sell site rather than a mere retailer.
This would expand competition for not only pure retailers like FlipKart and others but also buy-and-sell companies like e-Bay, the all-Indian OXL, and the rest.
India represents Amazon's tenth marketplace where buyers can browse through a catalogue of 7 million local and imported books and 12,000 titles from movies and TV shows to begin with.
The company is planning to expand its product footprint to cameras, mobiles and other electronics devices, officials said at a presentation.
"What it means to consumers in India is they get to choose from a vast selection at low prices through fast and reliable delivery," said Greg Greeley, Amazon's vice president for international expansion.
Amazon will not however stock or sell its own products, because India's ubiquitous foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations do not allow this.
Amazon has signed up 100 vendors across the country so far and has set up a 1.5 lakh sqft 'fulfilment centre' in Mumbai to service online orders. Any of the lakhs of retailers in India can sign up with Amazon to sell their products online.
Amazon debuted in the country launching a shopping catalogue aggregator Junglee.com; but it only sold goods.
India's internet penetration stands at a mere 8 per cent, underlining the falseness of the government's growth claims. But at the same time, the country has 137 million internet users, of which roughly 20 million are online shoppers - including the travel agency market.
This reflects China's online market back in 2005. China now has 538 million internet users and 227 million online shoppers.