Flipkart Fights to Keep India E-Commerce Lead Over Amazon

The company found a way to do online business in cash
A courier for Flipkart finishes loading his backpack as he prepares to deliver packages at a distribution hub in Bangalore Photograph by Kainaz Amaria/The New York Times via Redux

In 2007, when Indian software engineers Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal were starting their online bookstore Flipkart.com out of a two-bedroom apartment, they faced a challenge Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos never had: how to collect payment. At first the two, who aren’t related, accepted credit cards, but because few Indians use them, they needed a way to conduct e-commerce in cash. Payment-on-delivery was the obvious solution, but Flipkart didn’t want third-party couriers to carry large quantities of its money. So in 2010 the company decided to remake itself as a version of both Amazon and United Parcel Service.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.