Can Amazon charm India?

Amazon is betting on growth in India.

The world's leading online retailer is in the process of opening a fulfillment center in the world's second most populous nation.

There's no denying that India will be an important market for any Web-based retailer with global intentions, though just because Amazon is setting up a physical presence in Mumbai doesn't mean that the rupees will begin pouring in right away.

Despite its large population, Internet connectivity is still a luxury in India. India's Draft National Telecom Policy promises to ramp up Web access throughout the country, but it's not going to happen overnight.

Let's consider India's three dot-com pure plays that trade on stateside exchanges.

  • runs a popular portal in the densely populated nation, but it's still a tiny and slow-growing company that lacks profitability. Revenue climbed just 1% to just $5.1 million in its latest quarter.
  • Sify provides connectivity, hosting, and other IT-related services through India, giving it a front row seat to this quiet revolution. Revenue grew by just 6% in its latest quarter, but Sify's deficit did narrow substantially.
  • MakeMyTrip is the speedster in the group. The Indian travel portal saw its revenue surge by 84% in its latest quarter, though it's barely profitable at the moment.
In other words, India still has some room to go before it begins moving the needle for a company as large as Amazon. Besides, Amazon is already subsidizing shipping on deliveries into India placed through its U.K. storefront. The fulfillment center will really be about making it more profitable to do business in India.

It's a smart move, but investors need to be patient. India's dot-com revolution wasn't dialed up in a day.

This article originally appeared
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