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Indian e-commerce major Flipkart has added a new vertical for audiobooks, and onboarded Indian audio streaming service Pocket FM to offer audiobooks, audio stories and podcasts on its platform. 

The move brings the Walmart-backed Flipkart on par with its biggest competition in India, Amazon, which is one of the leading companies in the audio content streaming sector through Audible.

Flipkart has over 400 million customers in India who can now access the Pocket FM audio collection through the Flipkart e-commerce app, the company said in a release. However, Pocket FM will continue to operate as a standalone service, the companies confirmed in a statement.

Users of Flipkart will be able to access Pocket FM’s library of audiobooks, audio stories and pre-recorded podcasts through a sub-section on the main Flipkart app, and purchasing any of the content will send the same as a unique link on users‘ registered email addresses. Buyers can then use the same link to claim their purchases on Pocket FM, and listen to it on the platform.

The move comes ahead of Flipkart’s planned initial public offering (IPO) in the US in 2023, for which the service has reportedly raised its internal valuation to $70 billion. According to a report on the matter by The Economic Times, Flipkart is seemingly focusing on new verticals of its business — such as online healthcare and travel bookings — in order to boost its valuation ahead of its public listing.

Last month, Mint reported that Flipkart is also planning to restructure its refurbished devices business ahead of its IPO, which falls in line with its focus on alternate verticals — such as its foray into audio content streaming announced today.. Officials with knowledge of the matter had also said that Flipkart is looking to strengthen its offline retail business in India, too.

The move comes as demand for audio content is steadily increasing. Earlier this month, Dhruvank Vaidya, Spotify India’s head of podcasts said that the demand for podcasts has grown in India, which now sees one in every four users of the service in the country consuming audio content apart from music.

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