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Asia's richest man takes on Amazon with new delivery service

By Charlotte Ricca

Mukesh Ambani's JioMart grocery service will build on huge mobile phone customer base

Hamley's owner Mukesh Ambani has launched an online grocery delivery service to compete with Amazon in India.

The e-commerce platform, called JioMart, is the latest launch by Ambani’s multinational conglomerate company Reliance Industries. It promises to provide more than 50,000 grocery products with free delivery.

Unlike its rivals, JioMart will connect customers to local stores via an app, rather than providing and delivering the goods itself.

Customers in suburbs of Mumbai are being invited to sign up for a pilot of the service. It will then be rolled out across India.

Reliance’s core business is oil refining, but Ambani, Asia's richest man, has fingers in many lucrative pies. He launched a retail business in 2007, teaming up with major high-end brands including Burberry, Armani and Tiffany. Last year it bought UK-based toy retailer Hamleys.

And Jio telecoms, launched in 2016, has attracted 300m customers with its cut-price mobile phone contracts. Ambani hopes to use this massive customer base to help him take on the e-commerce giants.

India's online grocery market is currently estimated to be worth around $870m (£660m, €778m ) with just 0.15 per cent of the population using such services. However analysts predict this could increase to around $14.5bn by 2023.

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