Google in talks to join India’s open e-commerce network ONDC -sources

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A man walks past the Google for India sign at the company’s annual technology event in New Delhi, India September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Sankalp Phartyal/File Photo

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NEW DELHI, May 27 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOGL.O) is in talks with the Indian government to integrate its shopping services into the country’s ONDC open e-commerce network, two said sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Late last month, India softly rolled out its Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) as the government seeks to bolster US firms Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and Walmart (WMT.N) for dominance in fast-growing e-commerce exit market. Continue reading

The government estimates that the Indian e-commerce market had a gross merchandise value of more than US$55 billion in 2021 and will grow to US$350 billion by the end of this decade.

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ONDC CEO T. Koshy told Reuters that Google is one of many companies in talks to tie into the project.

Google’s talks follow the success of its payments business due to the government’s financial transactions initiative, the Unified Payments Interface, said one of the sources, both of whom declined to be named as they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

Google’s existing shopping store acts solely as an aggregator of online listings and does not perform order fulfillment such as delivery as Amazon does.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on whether it is in talks with the government.

“We remain committed to our focus on enabling small and medium-sized businesses to leverage digital technologies for deeper recognition and payment capabilities with Google Pay,” the spokesperson said, referring to its payment service.

Partners in the ONDC project, which currently includes Indian fintech company Paytm (PAYT.NS), among others, will display listings of each other in search results on their platform. The government’s goal is to level the playing field by lowering the cost of doing business for all sellers who want to offer their products online.

The ONDC program aims to join 30 million sellers and 10 million online retailers, covering at least 100 cities and towns by August.

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Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Krishna N. Das; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave; Edited by Shri Navaratnam

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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