Billionaire Mukesh Ambani obliterated rivals in India’s telecommunications sector by selling $2 data plans and free voice calls. Four years later, he’s deploying a very similar tactic -- cutthroat pricing -- to gain an edge in the country’s increasingly competitive e-commerce space.
As India this week hits the peak of its biggest shopping season, the festival of Diwali, the tycoon’s retail websites -- including JioMart -- are elbowing their way into a space long dominated by Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s local unit Flipkart Online Services Pvt.
Ratcheting up competition, Ambani’s portals are offering blockbuster discounts of as much as 50% on popular sugary confections and other holiday staples like spice mixes for India’s rice delicacy, biryani. Meanwhile, his Reliance Digital website is selling some flagship Samsung smartphones at prices cheaper than rivals, with as much as 40% rebates.