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Here’s why Amazon rival Flipkart still wants to IPO even though Walmart bought it for $16 billion

It comes down to talent.

Binny Bansal at Code Commerce
Flipkart Group CEO Binny Bansal at Code Commerce
Keith MacDonald for Vox Media

As Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal would have it, Walmart would have to acquire a majority stake in Flipkart if it wanted to compete with Amazon in a must-win global e-commerce market.

When Walmart agreed to buy 77 percent of India’s homegrown e-commerce player for $16 billion, the company said that it would still support Flipkart’s goal of eventually going public. And Bansal said the company still plans to go public in the future.


“We believe you can be way more competitive with the right partners around,” Bansal said at Recode’s Code Commerce conference at Industria in New York City. “The other partner we have is Tencent, we also have Microsoft as an investor. Bringing the right partners on board is crucial, we believe, for success in the future.”

But it’s also about being able to attract talent with the promise of equity.

“We want the talent to be motivated by the venture sort of backed company,” he said.

Flipkart, Bansal said, is the logistics pioneers in India and thus has significant advantages over Amazon in the country.

“From a logistics perspective, the kind of reach we have in the country, especially in the tier 2, tier 3 areas, is unparalleled,” he said. “We reached 400 cities ... 90 percent of deliveries are done by our own network.”

That’s because the company had to start its own logistics company back in 2011.

“When we started e-commerce in India there were really no big logistics companies to work with,” he said. “In the U.S., Amazon could hook up with UPS and FedEx and get their deliveries going from zero to like millions of deliveries per day. But in India, once we reached 20 to 30,000 deliveries per day, our delivery partners started breaking down. So we had to start our own last-mile delivery way back in 2011, built from scratch, which has scaled to almost 50 to 60,000 people working with us delivering hundreds of thousands of orders everyday.”

Here’s the full interview:

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