Indian e-commerce major Paytm Mall is looking to strengthen ties with local retailers to bolster its position against present leaders - Flipkart and Amazon. The third-largest player on the Indian e-commerce scene is also planning to bring online grocery marketplace BigBasket on its platform. Both Paytm Mall and BigBasket are backed by China's Alibaba Group.
Paytm Mall is planning to integrate BigBasket on its app, Amit Sinha, the chief operating officer of the online retailer, has told Reuters during an interview. The e-tailer, which is owned by Paytm E-commerce, already has a revenue partnership with Future Retail, which operates hypermarket chain Big Bazaar and other fashion outlets.
"When we talk about partnerships there will be brand partnerships, there will be retail partnerships - and not only with pan-India retail chains like Big Bazaar but also with regional, local city-based brands," he further added.
Paytm Mall can also consider buying stakes in another retailer or selling its own stake if the need to form strategic partnerships arises, Sinha said. He, however, made no comments on reports of Paytm Mall planning to buy minority stake in Future Retail with Google.
Recent reports suggest that Google is planning to team up with Paytm Mall to pick up a 7-10 per cent stake in Future Retail for Rs 3,500-4,000 crore. An unidentified private equity fund might also join this consortium.
According to Sinha, Paytm Mall sees itself as a strong contender in the growing Indian e-commerce market. The online marketplace is the third largest in the country after Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon India.
"At least there are three players who are definitely, very clearly there (in the long run) - Amazon, Flipkart and us," Sinha said.
Paytm E-Commerce, the parent company of Paytm Mall, has raised about $650 million and is valued at roughly $2 billion. The firm has Alibaba Group as its biggest investor, while SoftBank, Saif Partners and Paytm founder and chief Vijay Shekhar Sharma are its biggest shareholders.
Edited by Vivek Punj with agencies' input