Mumbai: Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Wednesday it would increase technology activities in India, as it seeks to expand its remote sourcing model.
Wal-Mart, which has a joint venture with India’s Bharti Enterprises for a wholesale cash-and-carry operation, will work with several top technology firms in the country to support its global operations, it said in a statement.
“As we deepen our relationship with India it only made sense that we take advantage of the 24-hour development cycle that India offers,” it cited vice chairman Michael Duke as saying.
India is one of several countries that the world’s largest retailer is targeting as part of its remote sourcing model for IT activities, it said.
Wal-Mart has sourced some IT applications from a couple of Indian technology firms in the past year, and will now expand these operations to cover more firms to augment its work in the United States, a spokesman said, without specifying details.
“We expect India to clearly be a key strategic partner in this area, given its impressive IT capability,” the statement cited Wal-Mart executive vice president and chief information officer Rollin Ford as saying.
Duke and Ford were in India on a “routine business visit” to get a “first-hand understanding” of the progress of the venture with Bharti, the statement said.
The venture is expected to open 10 to 15 wholesale cash-and-carry facilities and employ approximately 5,000 people over the next seven years, it said.
A typical facility will be between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet and sell a range of produce, groceries and staples, footwear, clothing and consumer durables to retailers, it said.
Wal-Mart is increasingly turning to its international operations to offset flagging sales in its US stores.
Rival Carrefour is also expected to launch wholesale operations and announce an Indian franchise partner soon, while Tesco also intends to enter.
India’s fragmented $350 billion retail industry is forecast to nearly double in size by 2015.