Flipkart – Beyond the Screen

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Everyone has now written about Flipkart. Everyone knows about the payoff of $16 billion. Everyone is happy and everyone has gone home.

Save a few who wonder what could have happened.

So, what could have happened?

Ever heard of ATB? No, not the Anti-Terrorist Bureau, people. It is Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. The three startups in China that grew up indigenous in China. The startups that did not take VCs at every turn and bring down their stockholdings. They were supported by the government policies of China. they made it big and today are behemoths, all within a decade. Approximately, the same time that Flipkart took to be here today from a one room and two people operation.

Why are they behemoths and never sold themselves, rather are now buying startups all over the world, the complete opposite and why Flipkart our lone ranger blue chip startup had to be sold off.

It is not about necessity. It is our mindset. Long back, in the 1800s Indian businesses were happy to sell to the British and then the British took advantage by giving us products and services from those same companies at a higher cost. Startups of those times include steamship companies, riverway companies, farms, metal factories and arms factories. In a way, we still are doing the same. We still develop companies but are happy to sell them to make short-term profits. Whereas Walmart, Tencent, Xiomi, and others are making the real long-term punts in our nation. Then, they will own the industry in our nation and we will be the same, clerks in our own nation.

Of course, the government too is responsible. They had to make policies for e-commerce very specifically and not be ambiguous about marketplaces, retail merchants, and retailers. They needed to prop up e-commerce companies by not indiscriminately taxing them and making them run off to Singapore. In the process, the Flipkart diluted to offshore companies who sold off to Walmart. So, who gains?

No one in India actually.

Isn’t that a pity? Yes. Definitely. But is anybody thinking about this great mishap? No. Or not anyone barring a few.

So, let’s not dance about. A company’s success is measured when it reaches the bourses and announces an IPO. Not in any other way.

Like Burger King India is just going to do. Oh wait, even this is an American company.

Oh fish!

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