India's Reliance seen emerging as bigger threat for U.S. firms like Amazon, Walmart

印度的Reliance被视为亚马逊、沃尔玛等美国公司面临的更大威胁

2020/07/16 16:37  路透社
* Reliance unit backed by Google and Facebook has big India plans
   * Billionaire Ambani has announced e-commerce expansion Wednesday
   * Reliance could threaten foreign firms like Amazon, Walmart
   * Zoom faces competition from Reliance's video conferencing tool 
   By Aditya Kalra and Nivedita Bhattacharjee
   NEW DELHI/BENGALURU , July 16 (Reuters) - A $20 billion fund raising spree may take India's Reliance closer to its dream of becoming a digital giant, further threatening the ambitious plans U.S. companies like Amazon , Walmart  and Zoom have for India.
   Stake sales in Reliance's digital unit Jio Platforms attracted not just private equity and sovereign wealth funds but also Google and Facebook , a strong endorsement for an enterprise that until a few years ago focussed largely on oil refining.
   Some industry watchers equate Reliance's digital plans - which extend from online shopping and cloud computing to telecom and digital payments - to China's Alibaba and Tencent  , companies Reliance itself calls "global peers".
   Reliance has a track record of disrupting rival businesses. With cheap smartphones and data plans, its telecom venture Jio has in four years dethroned market leaders Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel to become the largest telecom operator in India.
   On Wednesday, billionaire chairman Mukesh Ambani said Reliance will expand e-commerce platform JioMart - which connects small retailers with consumers - to offer not just groceries but also electronics and fashion goods.
   "Jio Platforms not only has the backend infrastructure and development capabilities but also an ever expanding captive consumer base," said Mayank Vishnoi of Singapore-based financial advisory firm Resfeber International.
   "The addition of new digital products targeting various sectors will pose threats to many large dominant players. Having strategic partners like Facebook and Google validates that Reliance gameplan is real."
   The recent stake sales gave Reliance a foreign partner for JioMart, which was launched this year. Facebook's WhatsApp, which counts India as its top market with 400 million plus users, will work closely in connecting small retailers to JioMart.
   "We will cover many more cities, serve many more customers across India, and expand to many more categories," said Ambani.
   Asked about the potential impact on foreign businesses eyeing India, one local industry executive who advises U.S. multinationals said: "Amazon and Walmart should be scared."
   To be sure, Reliance will face stiff competition from Amazon and Walmart's Flipkart, as both companies have deep pockets and an already well-established warehousing and logistics supply chain in the country.
   JioMart currently delivers groceries in only 200 cities, while Amazon and Flipkart deliver a wide range of goods across the country.
   Walmart, Flipkart and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  
   "REAL THREAT"
   Reliance also has a retail footprint of around 11,000 stores across 6,700 cities that offer a wide array of products. It has also partnered with over 45 top international brands including Tiffany & Co , Burberry and Jimmy Choo.
   Senior leadership at Flipkart has started keeping close tabs on Reliance, and there is a fear the Indian company will have an added advantage from the regulatory perspective, two sources close to the company told Reuters.
   The Ambani family is viewed as being well-connected politically. Amazon and Walmart have had regulatory troubles and face far tighter government oversight in India, where the prime minister has been promoting self reliance.
   Reliance's digital plans extend beyond e-commerce.
   On Wednesday, the company said it will develop education and healthcare solutions via its JioMeet video conferencing tool that saw 5 million users within days of its launch this month. JioMeet has a starkly similar design to its rival, U.S. based Zoom Video Communications .
   Zoom said this month it had plans for a significant investment in India. Asked about Reliance, Zoom said it had experienced intense competition in the past but we "know what it takes" to become a platform of choice.
   "This threat is real," one U.S. tech executive in India said about Reliance. "As of now, it's not changing the game, but that view can change in a year from now."

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Nivedita Bhattacharjee;
Additional reporting by Sankalp Pharityal; Editing by Kim
Coghill)
((aditya.kalra@thomsonreuters.com; +91-011-49548021; Reuters
Messaging: aditya.kalra.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net (Twitter:
@adityakalra)
*由谷歌和Facebook支持的信实部门在印度有宏伟的计划
*亿万富翁安巴尼周三宣布电商扩张
*信赖可能威胁到亚马逊、沃尔玛等外国公司
*Zoom面临来自Reliance视频会议工具的竞争
作者:Aditya Kalra和Nivedita Bhattacharjee
路透新德里/班加卢市7月16日电-200亿美元的融资狂潮可能会让印度信实(Reliance)更接近成为数字巨头的梦想,进一步威胁到亚马逊(Amazon)、沃尔玛(Walmart)和Zoom等美国公司对印度的雄心勃勃的计划。
Reliance数字部门Jio Platforms的股权出售不仅吸引了私人股本和主权财富基金,还吸引了谷歌(Google)和Facebook,这对这家直到几年前还主要专注于炼油的企业来说,是一个强有力的认可。
一些行业观察人士将信实的数字计划--从网购和云计算到电信和数字支付--等同于中国的阿里巴巴和腾讯,信实称这两家公司为“全球同行”。
信实有颠覆竞争对手业务的记录。凭借廉价的智能手机和数据计划,其电信企业Jio在四年内取代了市场领军企业沃达丰Idea和巴蒂电信(Bharti Airtel),成为印度最大的电信运营商。
周三,亿万富翁董事长穆凯什·安巴尼(Mukesh Ambani)表示,信实将扩大电子商务平台JioMart-将小型零售商与消费者联系起来-不仅提供食品杂货,还提供电子和时尚商品。
新加坡金融咨询公司Resfeber International的Mayank Vishnoi表示:“Jio平台不仅拥有后端基础设施和开发能力,还拥有不断扩大的专属消费者基础。”
“针对不同行业的新数字产品的增加,将对许多占主导地位的大型企业构成威胁。拥有Facebook和谷歌等战略合作伙伴,证明了Reliance的游戏计划是真实的。”
最近的股权出售让Reliance为今年推出的JioMart找到了一个外国合作伙伴。Facebook的WhatsApp将印度视为其最大的市场,拥有4亿多用户,将密切合作,将小型零售商与JioMart连接起来。
安巴尼说:“我们将覆盖更多的城市,为印度各地更多的客户提供服务,并扩展到更多的类别。”
当被问及对关注印度的外国企业的潜在影响时,一位为美国跨国公司提供咨询的当地行业高管表示:“亚马逊和沃尔玛应该害怕。”
可以肯定的是,Reliance将面临来自亚马逊(Amazon)和沃尔玛(Walmart)旗下Flipkart的激烈竞争,因为这两家公司在中国都拥有雄厚的财力和已经建立起来的仓储和物流供应链。
JioMart目前只在200个城市送货,而亚马逊和Flipkart在全国范围内送货。
沃尔玛、Flipkart和亚马逊没有立即回复记者的置评请求。

“真正的威胁”
信实还在6700个城市拥有约11,000家门店,提供广泛的产品。它还与蒂芙尼(Tiffany&Co)、巴宝莉(Burberry)和周(Jimmy Choo)等45多个顶级国际品牌建立了合作伙伴关系。
两位接近Flipkart的消息人士告诉路透社,Flipkart的高级领导层已经开始密切关注Reliance,人们担心这家印度公司从监管角度会有额外的优势。
安巴尼家族被认为在政治上有很好的人脉。亚马逊(Amazon)和沃尔玛(Walmart)在印度遇到了监管问题,并面临着更严格的政府监督,印度总理一直在推动自力更生。
信实电子的数字计划超越了电子商务。
周三,该公司表示,将通过其JioMeet视频会议工具开发教育和医疗解决方案,该工具本月发布后几天内就有500万用户。JioMeet的设计与其竞争对手、总部位于美国的Zoom Video Communications截然不同。
Zoom本月表示,它计划在印度进行一笔重大投资。当被问及Reliance时,Zoom表示,它过去经历过激烈的竞争,但我们“知道需要什么”才能成为一个可选的平台。
“这种威胁是真实存在的,”一位在印度的美国科技高管在谈到信实工业时说。“到目前为止,它没有改变游戏规则,但这种观点可能会在一年后改变。”

(Aditya Kalra和Nivedita Bhattacharjee报道;
Sankalp Pharitya补充报道;Kim编辑
(Coghill)
(aditya.kalra@thomsonreurs.com;+91-01-49548021;路透社
消息:aditya.kalra.thomsonreurs.com@reurs.net(推特:
@adityakalra)

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