He said Flipkart, the e-commerce company that is its flagship India business, could have one or multiple listings in the coming years.
Walmart plans to increase its exports out of India more than three times to $10 billion by 2027, up from $3 billion at present. It plans to boost exports by expanding its pool of hundreds of suppliers, especially among micro, small and medium enterprises, and the company pledged to strengthen the supply chain ecosystem in India.
McMillon said while waiting for India to allow foreign companies in multi-brand retailing, Walmart will focus on expanding Flipkart and PhonePe, the digital payments service.
“We will be patient and try to show everybody that’s good for the country, and wait for our moment,” he said.
McMillon said Flipkart could go public through one or more public offerings but declined to give specifics or a timeframe.
“Flipkart and PhonePe both need funding. They are both growing so quickly. There is lots of room to invest. And we’re excited about being a majority investor. But there’s room for other people,” he said.
McMillon pitched for India to open its economy further but did not mention any specific reform.
“The more the Indian economy opens, the more opportunities that we will have to reap these benefits,” he said. “We believe India is entering a new era. The country is growing and by many estimates, will be the third-largest economy in the world by 2030 and a leader in many industries,” he said.
The Walmart CEO said Indian consumers are demanding higher quality products at economical prices so that they can save money.
McMillion said the 2018 acquisition of Flipkart for $16 billion has bolstered the company’s bullishness on India. Walmart generated revenue of $524 billion in FY20.
“India is an important part of the Walmart story and all the work we’ve done in India is important to us because we believe in your country’s people and potential for a long time now,” McMillon said at a New Delhi summit via a video link from Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. “And this year has only made us more convinced about the tremendous opportunity ahead for both of us and the positive impact we can have together.”
The Walmart head said e-commerce accounts for only 4% of India’s retail market, which is poised to grow into a $1 trillion business by 2025.
“There are a number of companies competing in the market including Amazon, Reliance, Snapdeal, Paytm and many others. We think this is a good thing. Competition will improve services, bring down costs for consumers and give additional value to producers,” he said.
McMillon said India has the potential to be among the top three economies.
“India is already a great place with a lot of people and a big economy. But it has potential to become something really special,” he said. “India is on its way towards doing that. So when we look at the market, the size of it, the demographics, the potential, we get excited. That’s why we’ve tried to invest in the market in so many different ways.”