Indian eCommerce giant Flipkart announced that it has raised a total of $1.4 billion in funding from global tech majors Tencent, eBay, and Microsoft. The company also agreed to buy eBay's Indian operations as part of a strategic commercial agreement with the American online retailer, although eBay.in will continue to operate as an independent entity post-merger, according to a statement released by Flipkart. After this latest round of funding, Flipkart is valued at around $11.6 billion, which is significantly lower than the $15.5 billion the company was reported to be valued at after its previous funding round which took place in mid-2015, when Steadview Capital and Morgan Stanley were reported to have pumped in large sums of money into the largest eCommerce company in the country.
In a statement released to the media earlier today, Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal expressed hope that the consolidation in the Indian eCommerce space will “hasten the transformation of commerce in India through technology.” The duo also described Tencent, eBay, and Microsoft as “innovation powerhouses” and thanked them for choosing to partner with Flipkart. They also stated that the company decided to collaborate with those firms based on their notable track records in related fields. Prior to the latest investments from three of the leading global tech giants, Flipkart’s investors included a large number of well-known institutional investors from around the world such as Tiger Global Management, Naspers Group, Accel Partners, and DST Global. Senior executives from Tencent and eBay have also released official statements to the media confirming their investments in Flipkart, and expressing hope that the deal will help the Indian online retailer and its customers going forward. The President and CEO of eBay, Mr. Devin Wenig, expressed his satisfaction regarding the deal, a sentiment that was mimicked by Tencent's President, Mr. Martin Lau.
Flipkart was launched back in 2007, is based in Bangalore, Karnataka, and currently employs more than 33,000 people in India. Although Flipkart has been in business for just under a decade, the company has already acquired a number of smaller eCommerce and digital payments platforms including LetsBuy, Myntra, Jabong, and PhonePe. The company also routinely collaborates with global electronics giants to launch exclusive smartphones and other gadgets on its platform, including many of Motorola and Xiaomi’s popular handsets in the country, in addition to selling many electronics products under its own in-house brands DigiFlip and Citron.