Skilling traders: Walmart to train 50,000 entrepreneurs in India

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Published: December 10, 2019 4:45:08 AM

The comments come at a time when traders in the country are waging protests against Walmart-controlled Flipkart and Amazon for weaning away customers from small and medium businesses through predatory pricing.

Walmart, entrepreneurs in India, Walmart Vriddhi, FDI norms in e-commerce, Flipkart, Narendra Modi, Doug McMillon, Walmart Vriddhi programme“Nothing is more important to us than being successful in India. We will continue to invest in our businesses—Walmart India, Flipkart and different initiatives,” an official said at an informal briefing.

Walmart will continue to invest in its India businesses and build on its growth in the country, the ‘most important’ market for the firm, company officials said on Monday. The US-based retailer, while announcing the Walmart Vriddhi Supplier Development Programme (Walmart Vriddhi), said it will train and prepare 50,000 Indian small businesses and help them gain access to domestic and global supply chains.

The comments come at a time when traders in the country are waging protests against Walmart-controlled Flipkart and Amazon for weaning away customers from small and medium businesses through predatory pricing. Traders claim the deep-pocketed firms have failed to adhere to the foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in e-commerce mandated by the government.

Walmart that operates 27 Best Price wholesale cash and carry stores in India acquired a controlling stake in e-commerce major Flipkart last year in a $16-billion deal, valuing the firm at around $21 billion. “Nothing is more important to us than being successful in India. We will continue to invest in our businesses—Walmart India, Flipkart and different initiatives,” an official said at an informal briefing.

The government’s revised FDI norms that came into effect on February 1 bar e-commerce firms having foreign investment from selling products of entities in which they hold stake or whose inventory they control. The government is also in the process of formulating an e-commerce policy. Reportedly, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year seeking certainty and predictability in India’s business environment.

“We have had a good dialogue with the government on policy issues,” the official said without elaborating. Filings by Singapore-based Flipkart Private showed the (Flipkart) group’s total revenues under Walmart increased 42.32% to Rs 43,615.5 crore on a consolidated basis for the year to March 2019, compared to the previous year. Losses, although elevated, dipped by 63.2% year-on-year to Rs 17,231.5 crore.

McKenna, president and CEO at Walmart International, said the company’s India cash & carry stores source 95% of what they sell from the country. “We see India as a top-five sourcing market for Walmart today, with a global sourcing hub in Bengaluru that already sources Indian products to export to 14 global markets. And we want to do more,” McKenna said. As part of the Walmart Vriddhi programme, MSME partners will be trained at 25 institute hubs located near manufacturing clusters across India. McKenna said the Walmart Foundation has contributed more than $10 million of the $25-million investment commitment it had announced in September last year to improve farmer livelihoods over five years.

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