Q&A

Flipkart CEO Plays Down Amazon Threat

Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy took the helm of India’s homegrown e-commerce company in January, about six months after Jeff Bezos pledged Amazon would invest $5 billion in its India business. But Mr. Krishnamurthy claims to be unconcerned about Amazon. “Committing a lot of money doesn’t matter,” he said.

Amazon in the past couple of years built a substantial presence in India and eroded Flipkart’s dominance. But Mr. Krishnamurthy suggested that today Flipkart has beaten back Amazon, asserting that while “a year back” he would have said his goal was to “gain disproportionate share,” that is “behind us.” He was speaking in an exclusive interview with The Information while on a brief visit to San Francisco this week. 

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We’re very, very focused on building our own business. Shaping customer behavior in such a way that I push or incentivize you to buy a lot more items in the same basket. This is not a problem which exists in the U.S. or other countries in the world. In the U.S., the average selling price [for items people buy] is anywhere in the $40-$50 [range]. In India, it’s $5-$6. Economically, for it to make sense at scale, you actually need it to be that when you check out, you bought four items. At a basket level, how do you get to economies of scale?

*This story has been updated to add details about the leadership change at Flipkart.

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