Walmart committed to India and here for the long term: CEO Doug McMillon
Doug McMillon, the president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the world’s largest retailer Walmart Inc, reinforced the firm’s continued commitment to India and to meet the company’s goal of sourcing $10 billion of India-made goods each year by 2027. This includes building an ecosystem of suppliers and partners and small and medium enterprises.
McMillon along with other top Walmart leaders including Judith McKenna, President and CEO, Walmart International, is on a visit to India. They were in Bengaluru on Tuesday to assess the progress made by Walmart entities Flipkart, Global Tech, and PhonePe as well as its supplier and grantee partners in the country.
“Walmart is committed to India and we are here for the long term,” said McMillon. “This country has a bright future.”
At a company event, McMillon and McKenna met a cross-section of suppliers, merchants, grantees, artisans, and MSMEs across key India programmes and initiatives. These include Walmart Sourcing, Walmart Vriddhi, Flipkart and Flipkart Samarth, PhonePe, Walmart Marketplace, Walmart Global Tech in India, and the Walmart Foundation.
“We are excited about the Indian suppliers and partners who make quality, affordable, and sustainable products for our customers and members around the world,” said McMillon. “We are proud that our business can support India’s growth by creating jobs, strengthening communities, and accelerating India’s progress as a manufacturing destination.”
Judith McKenna¸ president and CEO, Walmart International, said India has long been a priority market for Walmart. “We care deeply about the country and its future. I am continually impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit across the country, and that spirit is one of the reasons Walmart is proud to play a small part in India’s growth story,” said McKenna. “As a nation that’s set to be one of the world’s largest economies by 2030, we’re excited to have the opportunity to serve as partners in India’s economic development, aligned with the country’s ambitions. We remain committed to creating opportunity, strengthening local communities, and empowering customers, sellers, suppliers, and farmers.”
The Bentonville-based company (in Arkansas) is locked in a battle with US rival Amazon, Reliance’s JioMart, and Tata-owned BigBasket for dominance in India’s online retail and financial services market through Flipkart and PhonePe.The e-commerce space is forecast to grow to $350 billion by 2030. The size of the Indian financial services market could touch around $340 billion in the next few years. Overall, India’s retail market is estimated to reach over $1 trillion by 2025.
Walmart bought the e-commerce firm Flipkart for $16 billion in 2018. Fintech firm PhonePe came to Walmart as part of the acquisition. Post that, it has continued to participate in the funding rounds of Flipkart and PhonePe. In 2021, Flipkart achieved a valuation of $37.6 billion in a $3.6 billion funding round led by investors such as SoftBank and Walmart. PhonePe also recently achieved a pre-money valuation of $12 billion in an ongoing $1 billion fundraising from investors including General Atlantic and Walmart.
At the company event on Tuesday, Flipkart group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and PhonePe CEO and founder Sameer Nigam, were also present to meet McMillon and McKenna and showcase the progress made by their firms.
PhonePe officials demonstrated the company’s recent foray into e-commerce with the launch of a shopping app, Pincode, on the government-backed Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) platform. The app is focusing on hyperlocal commerce. The Pincode app will promote local shopkeepers and sellers. It aims to digitally connect each city’s consumers with all their neighbourhood stores that they usually buy from offline. McMillon and McKenna also experienced PhonePe’s smart speakers which help validate customer payments without any intervention. Their speed of audio confirmations has helped build trust across merchants on the company’s platform.
PhonePe founded in December 2015, has 450 million registered users. One in four Indians is now on PhonePe. The company has also successfully digitized over 36 million offline merchants spread across Tier 2,3,4 and beyond, covering 99 per cent of pin codes in the country.
The Flipkart Group has also become one of India’s leading digital commerce entities. It now includes group companies Flipkart, Myntra, Flipkart Wholesale, Flipkart Health+, and Cleartrip. With a registered customer base of more than 450 million, Flipkart’s marketplace offers over 150 million products across 80 categories.
At the event, McMillon and McKenna also visited the stall of suppliers such as Mrs. Bector’s Food Specialties Limited, a biscuit-and-bakery firm established in 1970, and tested out their products. Its founder Rajni Bector, a Ludhiana-based housewife, became a household name for her ice-creams, puddings, cakes, cookies, and buns recipes. Popular for its best-sellers like Bourbon, crackers, and cream-filled biscuits, Cremica is now being sold in over 23 states through 550,000 outlets. It also operates India’s largest tomato ketchup line and is the country’s largest producer of ketchup portion packs capable of packing 2.5 million sachets per year. Company executives Anoop Bector and Suvir Bector said the firm is focusing a lot on technology, research and development, and automatization of its plants.
Another entrepreneur present there was Riddhi Sharma. She is the founder of BabyOrgano, which retails Ayurveda-based healthcare solutions for children. Sharma said that she enlisted her business with Walmart Vriddhi in 2022, enabling her to list on the Walmart marketplace. She was able to explore new avenues for growth through Flipkart, Walmart, and other marketplaces.
There was also Vrinda Khurana, a young entrepreneur from Panipat, Haryana. She has transformed her old family business into Chandan Textiles, a maker of customised gift products. These include customised mugs, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and bottles. The Walmart Vriddhi programme helped her learn and apply e-commerce optimisation tools and tactics, inventory management, and advertising and marketing strategies.
Sorabh Agarwal, a first-generation entrepreneur, established the Mumbai-based Mahi Exports in 2008. The company set up an online retail presence for its bath and bedding category in 2016, selling bath towels, beach towels, washcloths, cotton blankets, and throws. With an annual production capacity of over seven million units, Mahi Exports said it has emerged as a leading Walmart supplier. It now retails its Glamburg and Belizzi brand products to customers from the US, Canada, and Germany.
Vinay Garg of Digismart Electricals demonstrated the company’s wide range of products such as ceiling and exhaust fans, electric geysers, and gas stoves. Watching his father, Jitender Garg grow the business offline, Vinay Garg said he joined Flipkart as he wanted to reach more customers across the country by selling online. Garg said now about 40 per cent of the business for the company is online.
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