Projects aimed at boosting online-and-offline businesses to better meet demands from Chinese consumers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The neck-and-neck competition within India’s online marketplace looks set to get even fiercer with the world’s biggest retailer Wal-Mart Stores deciding to take a stake in Flipkart to fight US giant Amazon.

Top Walmart officials met their Flipkart counterparts in Bangalore and a deal may be finalized by March, Economic Times has reported.

If a deal takes place, Walmart may acquire a 15-20% stake in Flipkart, which would give the latter a boost for its fight against Amazon.

Both Flipkart and Amazon have had infusions of capital. Amazon Seller Services has received around $1.3 billion so far in 2017-18 from its US parent, while Flipkart has a cash reserve of $4 billion after it raised $2.4 billion from Softbank’s Vision Fund in July 2017.

Walmart entered India’s wholesale cash and carry marketplace with a tie-up in 2007 with Bharti Enterprises, which also owns India’s leading mobile phone carrier Airtel. However, the going was not smooth and the two companies parted ways in 2013.

The US retail giant continues to operate in India through its local arm Walmart India Pvt Ltd and runs Best Price modern wholesale stores. It currently has 21 such stores and plans to add 30 more over three years.

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