New Delhi: Online retailer Amazon India today launched its services in Hindi, with the aim of capturing the next 100 million consumers in the e-commerce battle against Walmart’s Flipkart. The move could give Amazon access to tens of millions of new customers in India’s small towns and villages. The service is currently available on Android OS and the mobile website and will soon be available on Apple devices and desktops.

“My mother keeps saying why we cannot shop in Hindi. This is the customer feedback we have been getting and it was time to move towards the next evolution," Manish Tiwary, vice president (category management) at Amazon India, told reporters at a news conference. “What we believe is, Amazon in Hindi is a critical step to actually address the next 100 million customers."

The announcement of the Amazon Hindi app and website comes ahead of the festive season, which is traditionally the peak sales season for India’s retail sector—online or offline. India’s e-commerce market is tipped to grow to $150 billion by 2022, according to a report by Nasscom and PwC.

None of India’s other leading e-commerce portals—Flipkart, Snapdeal or Paytm Mall—currently have a local language version of their apps or websites, Reuters reported. Snapdeal did launch a mobile website in Hindi and Telugu in 2015 and conducted pilot runs for 12 regional languages, but the plan was shelved after six months due to lack of interest.

Amazon too is keen to expand in other regional languages. “We are starting with Hindi and as we learn (from) the experience and become rock-solid, we would be in position to understand the other languages," said Kishore Thota, director (customer experience and marketing) at Amazon India. The focus will be on Hindi over the next year and Amazon may delve into regional languages like Bengali and Tamil after that.

According to Thota, an internal team called “Reach" is working on how to tap the next million users.

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