India soft-launched its Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) late last month in an effort to challenge Amazon.com and Walmart’s dominance in the fast-growing e-commerce business and is in talks with the Indian government to integrate its shopping services with the country’s open e-commerce network ONDC.
ONDC Chief Executive T. Koshy told Reuters that Google was one of many companies it was in discussions with to be associated with the project. “We remain committed to focusing on the enablement of small and medium businesses to leverage digital for deeper discovery and payments capabilities with Google Pay,” the spokesperson said, referring to its payments service.
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Paytm E-commerce Private Limited (PEPL), the parent company of Paytm Mall, had previously stated that it would shift its attention to the ONDC and investigate the potential in the exporting market rather than traditional physical goods e-commerce. The ONDC project’s partners will display listings from each other’s platforms in search results. The government’s goal is to level the playing field for every seller who wants to offer their products online by lowering the cost of doing business.
By August, the ONDC program hopes to have 30 million sellers and 10 million merchants online and 100 cities and towns covered. the government tries to end the dominance of U.S. companies Amazon.com and Walmart. This move allows the company to build a long-term sustainable business with ONDC, which strives to democratize the buying and selling of commodities in the Indian market by promoting transparency and digital independence for small enterprises.
The Indian government plans to ease the cost of doing business for sellers who want to list their products online. However, the method of seller listing has triggered comments from industry gurus. One of them is Google’s former Head of Mobile Ads Business in India, Mahesh Narayanan. Narayanan explained that the highest seller or best-rated sellers may probably be displayed at the top. And this means that it will not be a “level playing field.”
Google’s existing shopping business works solely as an aggregator of listings online and doesn’t carry out any order fulfillment like delivery, which the likes of Amazon do. Google’s talks follow the success of its payments business because of the government’s initiative for financial transactions, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), said one of the sources, both of whom declined to be identified as they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.
The government estimates the Indian e-commerce market was worth more than $55 billion in gross merchandise value in 2021 and will grow to $350 billion by the end of this decade.