Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart.com, had dreamt of creating their very own Amazon in India, way back in 2008.
Today, the duo no longer look to Amazon for inspiration, but are seeking to replicate China’s Alibaba.com’s success model in India. In an interview with Business Line , Flipkart CEO Sachin Bansal shares the company’s vision and its growth plans. Edited excerpts:
You have earlier talked about how you want to be the Amazon of India. Is this acquisition of Myntra a realisation of that dream?
We are beyond Amazon now and are looking to carve out our own path like China’s Alibaba.com.
I have visited China many times and it’s very inspiring to see how Chinese entrepreneurs are building businesses, which is very different from the way it is done in the US. The innovations in China are awe-inspiring and are much bigger in scale than innovations in the US.
Way back in 2008, Amazon was big, and a role model for many, not any more. The China market, the customers, their income levels, the distribution and supply chain, etc are all similar to India and we will learn from Chinese players on how to make a success of the businesses we build. Alibaba is our role model now.
Flipkart has been offering deep discounts on electronics, angering product manufacturers who are asking customers not to buy from Flipkart. Will you stop offering such discounts?
Our philosophy is to allow openness and not impose restrictions on any of our sellers in the marketplace, and we do not want to restrict vendors from offering deep discounts. We want to do the right thing for the customer, too.
Flipkart is not making profits. Will this deal turn the tide and make you profitable soon?
Profitability continues to be our second priority. It has never been a priority for us and we didn’t acquire Myntra to make profits.
We acquired Myntra to help us scale rapidly to achieve greater growth than we achieved earlier and gain more market share by being the dominant player. With fashion as our focus category and with our focus firmly on how fashion should be sold in this country, I think it will provide us with a huge lever to drive scale and ultimately drive profitability, too.
We will not stop investing in supply chain, back-end automation and logistics to drive profitability.
In the short term, international players like Amazon may thrive in India. However, in future, domestic firms such as ours will do much better than them.
Are you looking to acquire any firms, and if so, in which areas?
Yes, we are looking to acquire firms in categories like back-end, automation and supply chain.
More importantly, we are looking to create a good team.