Flipkart announced a $1.4 billion investment round Monday, involving some tech heavyweights from around the globe, as it goes toe-to-toe with Amazon to control the India online retail market.
Flipkart is the top online marketplace in India, and the investment from companies like Microsoft, Tencent and eBay represents the biggest in the company’s 10-year history. The deal puts Flipkart’s valuation at $11.6 billion. As part of the deal, eBay is selling its India business to Flipkart.
That Microsoft contributed to the investment is not a big surprise. In February, Flipkart agreed to adopt Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud platform, augmenting its own data centers with the Redmond company’s technologies, as part of a broader strategic partner.
Amazon is pushing hard to become a dominant player in India, which is arguably the company’s most important overseas opportunity. Last year, Forbes ran a cover story reporting that Amazon “predicts that India will be its biggest market after the U.S. within a decade and that the Indian e-commerce market as a whole will ultimately be gigantic.”
Last year, reports surfaced that Amazon will invest an additional $3 billion in its India operations, which is on top of $2 billion already invested. That means the company is putting $5 billion toward its India business.
That investment includes Prime shipping, which launched in July 2016. Video is also one of Amazon’s top priorities in India, as the company plans to spend around $300 million to fund original movies and series there.