Preparing for the competition
The company hopes to bring its online payments business PayPal into India soon, which would help draw more online shoppers in a country where most online retail merchandise is sold on a cash-on-delivery basis. EBay India, which started in 2005, clocks six transactions per minute, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India. By comparison, fast-growing Flipkart, founded by two former Amazon employees in 2007, sells 20 items per minute. Muralikrishnan, 36, joined eBay shortly after its entry into India.
He does not believe eBay has ceded an early mover advantage. “We waited for the right moment because we didn't want to get caught up in the clutter. We were sure a lot of this new money will dry up and that has already started to happen.”
India's $10 billion e-commerce market, dominated by online travel portals led by MakeMyTrip.com
Consulting firm Technopak expects the market to hit $70 billion by 2020. EBay, which started in India selling flowers and chocolates as gift items to love-struck couples, now sells a variety of products including phones, mountain climbing gear and collectible stamps, either via auction or at fixed prices. Muralikrishnan, who helped Sify Technologies
EBay plans to invest millions of dollars in advertising in coming years, although Muralikrishnan did not give specifics. It is also investing in strengthening its supply chain and distribution by tying up with courier services, and it hopes that PayPal will clear regulatory hurdles at the Reserve Bank of India soon. “PayPal should enter India soon and then we will have a lot more people making payments online because that's a globally trusted name,” Muralikrishnan said.
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