INDIA – Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), an energy and telecoms conglomerate, has unveiled plans of investing US1.4 billion into India’s e-commerce sector as part of its diversification strategy, reports ET Retail.

The investment by RIL comes at a time when other e-commerce giants such as and Flipkart are experiencing tough operating environment due to the introduction of new foreign direct investment regulations.

Mukesh Ambani, the major shareholder and Chairman at RIL, said that the “new commerce” venture aims to connect small merchants with his retail network and warehouses, helping them better manage their inventory.

“The new e-commerce platform will bring win-win benefits to consumers, retailers and producers and help 30 million small shopkeepers,” he said.

RIL already operates more than 500 retail stores with the investment seeking to multiply its warehouse space within the next two years.

For the December 2018 ended quarter, the company reported a consolidated net profit of US$1.43 billion against US$1.32 billion in the same quarter a year back hence becoming the first private sector Indian company to cross the Rs 10,000 crore (US$1.4 billion) profit mark.

RIL’s consolidated revenues in the same quarter grew 55.9% to US$23.98 billion.

The main highlight of RIL’s Q3 was its retail business, which reported 89.3% annual growth in revenue to US$4.99 billion and over 200% growth in operating profit at US$212.04 million.

Profits margin in the retail segment also improved to 4.2% from 3.8% in September quarter and 2.6% in the year-ago quarter. 

“Healthy festive season sales and new store openings resulted in another robust quarter. Reliance Retail further consolidated its leadership position and is India’s largest, most profitable and fastest growing retailer,” the company said.

Apart from retail, the Mumbai headquartered holding company engages in energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail and telecommunications.

As one of the most profitable and leading publicly traded company, it is the country’s leading exporter with market access of over 108 countries.