Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail, the subsidiaries of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, will launch a new e-commerce platform in India, which will initially be rolled for Gujarat retailers and store-owners, announced Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries (RIL).

“The new e-commerce platform will empower and enrich our 12 lakh small retailers and shopkeepers in Gujarat,” Ambani said on Friday, while speaking at an inaugural ceremony of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019 in Gandhinagar.

It was in November 2017 when reported that Reliance Jio is planning to make entry into India's online grocery market by linking manufacturers, kirana stores and corner shops to his Reliance Jio customers and mint money.

Reliance Jio currently has 280 million subscribers, while Ambani’s retail arm operates nearly 10,000 outlets across more than 6,500 Indian cities and towns. They’ll team up to bring merchants aboard through Jio’s apps and devices, V Subramaniam, a top executive at Reliance Retail, said on Thursday after the company put out quarterly numbers.

Last month, India tightened rules that will disallow foreign-owned online retailers from selling products via companies in which they own equity, and forbid them from pushing merchants to sell exclusively through their platforms. The rules are expected to affect the operations of both Amazon and Walmart, which acquired Flipkart Online Services Pvt in a $16 billion deal. They’re expected to benefit local enterprises such as Reliance.

Ambani has been gradually revealing details of his plans in e-commerce. In July, he said his platform would use augmented reality, holographs and virtual reality to create an “immersive shopping experience."

Reliance Industries, India’s largest company by market capitalization, wants to adopt an innovative online-to-offline (O2O) model, where a consumer is drawn into making online searches for purchases that are made in a physical store.

In August last year, a report supposedly said that Alibaba’s chairman Jack Ma had held talks with Mukesh Ambani, in July-2018 in Mumbai and discussed about plan to create a large omnichannel i.e. both online as well offline, retail entity through the proposed JV of RIL and Alibaba.

Last month, RIL also acquired 5.56% equity stake in VAKT Holdings Limited, a London-based technology startup, for $5 million (around ₹ 35 crore). VAKT uses Blockchain technology for oil & energy trading. And, Reliance has interests in the downstream oil business, with its arm Reliance Petroleum as one of the leading petroleum companies in the world.

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