Flipkart Co-founder Binny Bansal has sold his stake worth $264 million (more than Rs 2,000 crore) in the homegrown e-commerce platform to Chinese Internet giant Tencent, at a time when the neighbouring country has once again hardened its positions along the Indian border.
The news about Bansal selling Flipkart stock to Tencent came at a time when US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, said on Saturday that China is hardening its positions along the Indian border.
Addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Austin said that China is taking aggressive and illegal approaches to the territories it claims in the South China Sea.
“Further to the West, we see Beijing continuing to harden the position along the borders it shares with India,” he noted.
Tencent bought Bansal’s stake, via its European subsidiary called Tencent Cloud Europe BV, in October last year, and now holds 0.72 per stake in Walmart-owned Flipkart, according to media reports, which was later confirmed by reliable sources.
Bansal now holds nearly 1.84 per cent stake in Flipkart.
A query sent to Flipkart went unanswered.
India and China have been engaged in a border dispute for nearly two years.
India also banned several Chinese apps and Internet platforms in the aftermath of the tense border standoff in eastern Ladakh in May 2020.
Army Chief General Manoj Pande said last month that China seems to lack the intention to find a resolution to the border dispute at the Line of Actual Control, stressing that Indian troops continue to hold important positions along the LAC.
During an interaction with media persons, General Pande said, “Our guidance to them (troops deployed at LAC) is to be firm and resolute and prevent any attempt to alter the status quo.”
Sachin and Binny Bansal, who received their B.Tech degree in computer science & engineering from IIT-D in 2005, built one of the largest e-commerce marketplaces in India.
Sachin led Flipkart as its CEO from its inception in 2007 till 2015, and took over as the Executive Chairman in 2016. He is currently leading and mentoring the startup and internet ecosystem in India and is an angel investor in several technology startups.
Binny served as the Chief Operating Officer of Flipkart till January 2016 before being promoted as its Chief Executive Officer. He exited Flipkart in November 2018, and became a prolific angel investor.
Flipkart, Amazon, Reliance’s JioMart, and Tata-backed BigBasket have fired up India’s online retail market that is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 19.8 per cent to reach $85.5 billion by 2025, according to a report by Forrester.
Flipkart raised $3.6 billion (about Rs 27,000 crore) in funding led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, CPP Investments, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Walmart in July 2021.
The funding round had taken Flipkart’s valuation to $37.6 billion.