Flipkart group today announced the acquisition of Walmart India and the launch of Flipkart Wholesale, a whole new digital marketplace to help “transform the Kirana retail ecosystem” in India.

The move will consolidate retail behemoth Walmart Inc’s entire India business under the Flipkart Group. The launch of Flipkart Wholesale also comes to a couple of months after Reliance Industries Ltd launched  Reliance JioMart, an online avatar of Reliance Retail, which plans to leverage its telecom outreach and ties with Facebook to tap into Kirana retail ecosystem in India. Other competitors of Flipkart Wholesale are Udaan, Metro Cash & Carry, and Amazon’s B2B division.

To launch the wholesale marketplace, called Flipkart Wholesale, the e-commerce giant said it was acquiring a 100% stake in Walmart’s  India business, which had limited standalone presence in the country and operated Best Price cash-and-carry business that runs 28 warehouse-club-style stores across the country and has amassed more than 1.5 million members.

The launch of Flipkart Wholesale will leverage talent, strong technology backbone, deep merchandising expertise, and logistics infrastructure to accelerate growth and prosperity for kiranas and MSMEs, the company said. It added that kiranas and MSMEs are central to India’s retail ecosystem and Flipkart Wholesale will focus on meeting their needs by providing small businesses with a wide selection at a significant value.

Flipkart wholesale is a new digital marketplace focusing on addressing the business to business(B2B)  segment in India. 

“This marketplace is going to effectively link sellers and manufacturers on one end and kiranas and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on the other end,” Flipkart Senior Vice President and Head – Flipkart Wholesale Adarsh Menon told.

The acquisition will help strengthen the capabilities to address the requirements of Kirana and MSMEs, he said.

The move will further intensify competition with Flipkart’s rival Amazon that has a similar offering for the B2B segment.

“The B2B market for finished goods is estimated to be worth USD 650 billion. To start with, we will be focusing on USD 140 billion of that USD 650 billion, which is largely the categories of fashion, grocery, general merchandise, large and small electronics,” Menon said.

“A thing we saw through COVID-19 (outbreak) was Kiran’s are shopping in more omnichannel ways than before. In our Best Price business, we had a 4X increase in e-commerce within our business, which is primarily brick and mortar. What that tells us is that kiranas are very open to shopping both online and offline,” Walmart India CEO Sameer Aggarwal said.

He added that kiranas will remain big, and organized B2B will account for a bigger part of retail.