Home / Companies / Tata group said to near debut of e-commerce unit

Mumbai: The Tata group is close to starting its e-commerce business, people familiar with the matter said, as India’s largest conglomerate prepares to enter a burgeoning market that’s expected to grow 20-fold in the next decade.

Tata, whose businesses range from coffee to making cars, is in the final stages of preparation and other group units are being recruited to offer their products on the platform, the people said, asking not to be named as the information hasn’t been made public. One of the people said the debut will be within weeks and that group’s internal deadline is by March 2016.

Tata Industries Ltd, which typically is in charge of handling start-ups within the group, is setting up the business. Though the group had announced in July that it would set up an e-commerce, digital health, consumer analytics and big data businesses, it never specified when. Asked to comment, the group said in a statement that Tata UniStore Ltd’s online mall will have more than 100 brand stores.

India’s e-commerce industry, currently dominated by the likes of Inc. and Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd, is so promising that Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates $220 billion of merchandise will be sold online there by 2025, compared with $11 billion this year. Such prospects have not only attracted local tycoons into the business but global investors such as SoftBank Corp.’s Masayoshi Son and Yuri Milner’s DST.

Tata isn’t the only Indian conglomerate jumping into e-commerce. Reliance Industries Ltd, headed by India’s richest man, is planning its own e-commerce business, while K.M. Birla’s Aditya Birla Group started its online fashion portal in October. Bloomberg

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