Amazon launches online shopping site in India

Online retail giant Amazon launched a new Internet shopping site in India on Wednesday, stoking already fierce competition in the fast-expanding "e-tailing" market.

Amazon.in will offer books, movies and TV shows via third parties to sidestep Indian government rules banning foreign multibrand online retailers from selling products directly to customers.

However, the US giant, which cannot match its hugely successful retail model in India due to the restrictions, will in some cases sell goods directly.

The idea is to create a "marketplace" which is a "very well accepted concept in India", spokeswoman Meenu Handa told AFP.

Amazon made its first foray into India early last year with Junglee.com, which allows customers to search for different products and compare prices, but not buy.

The world's biggest online retailer wants to establish a strong profile in India with the e-commerce business set to boom as incomes and consumer demand climb in the country of 1.2 billion people, analysts say.

Amazon's biggest rival is Flipkart, founded by two ex-Amazon employees in 2007.

"We're excited to get started in India," said Amazon vice-president Greg Greeley in a statement.

Last year, New Delhi eased legislation to allow foreign multibrand retailers such as US supermarket giant Walmart to set up in India and sell directly to consumers, but online retailers were left out.

India has just over 50 million active Internet users of whom around 40 percent have made purchases online, according to industry figures.

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