Reliance Retail, Jio to jointly launch new e-commerce platform; to empower 1.2 mn shopkeepers in Gujarat

Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio Infocomm will jointly launch a new e-commerce platform in India. It will be first rolled out in Gujarat. The new e-commerce project would empower 1.2 million shopkeepers in Gujarat, said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries.

Ambani revealed his plans for the online shopping platform at the three-day Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar on Friday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Without giving timelines, Ambani said Jio and Reliance Retail, which has over 9,000 stores across 6,500-plus towns in the country, will launch “a unique new commerce platform to empower and enrich our 12 lakh small retailers and shopkeepers in Gujarat, who are part of over 3 crore community in India.”

Ambani had previously spoken of leveraging the Jio network for launching some sort of an e-commerce venture.  Jio has over 280 million subscribers with internet access.

File image of RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani. YouTube screengrab

File image of RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani. YouTube screengrab

An e-commerce policy last month tightened rules to disallow foreign-owned online retailers from pushing merchants to sell exclusively through their platforms. It also barred them from selling products via companies in which they own equity.

Data colonisation by global corporations

At the Summit, Ambani also urged Prime Minister Modi to take steps to end increasing "data colonisation" by global corporations, saying Indians should own and control their own data.

He drew parallels to Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against political colonisation to call for a revolution against data colonisation.

“Data is the new oil (in the new world order). And data is the new wealth. India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people — and not by corporates, especially global corporations,” the Reliance Industries chairman said.

The comments come amid a debate over balancing user protections with support for the fast booming digital economy. Foreign giants and hundreds of home-growth startups have flourished amid a dearth of regulation.

“Today, we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonisation. For India to succeed in this data-driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India - in other words, Indian wealth back to every Indian,” he said. “Honourable Prime Minister, I am sure you will make this one of the principal goals of your Digital India mission.”

This is the second time within a month that Ambani has backed Indian authorities’ efforts to get companies to store data locally.

The oil-to-telecom conglomerate reported consolidated revenues of Rs 430,731 crore in 2017-18 and a profit after tax of Rs 36,075 crore.

--With inputs from PTI

(Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd)


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Updated Date: Jan 19, 2019 19:16:53 IST

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