Walmart (NYSE: WMT) recently acquired a majority stake in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart. However, the buyout comes with a lot of strings for Walmart investors, including a hit to earnings and years of potential losses.
On this episode of Industry Focus, Vincent Shen and senior Motley Fool contributor Asit Sharma dive into the deal and what it means for each stakeholder. From India's growing middle class to the fierce rivalry with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), find out why India is such a massive, exciting growth opportunity for these global retail giants.
Continue Reading Below
A full transcript follows the video.
10 stocks we like better than Walmart Inc.When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has quadrupled the market.*
David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Walmart Inc. wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.
Click here to learn about these picks!
*Stock Advisor returns as of May 8, 2018
This video was recorded on May 15, 2018.
Vincent Shen: Welcome to Industry Focus, the podcast that dives into a different sector of the stock market every day. It's Tuesday, May 15th, and I'm your host, Vincent Shen.
We have an awesome discussion in store for you today, Fools, because we're in the middle of our latest theme week, international theme week. If you tune into this show regularly, you're aware that Industry Focus is a U.S.-based podcast. We talk mostly about the U.S. stock market. As a result, we spend most of our time focused on domestic companies. But there's a whole world of stocks out there, and no portfolio is truly diversified without international exposure, so this week, we're changing things up by turning our attention to companies and stories from around the world.
The timing of this theme week, for me, at least, for the consumer and retail sector, couldn't be any better, given the huge news in consumer and retail that we've been processing the last few days. And that's the deal announced between Walmart and Flipkart. The $16 billion transaction is going to have significant implications for Walmart investors, for consumers in India, and other major e-commerce companies that are looking to gain a foothold in the Indian market like Amazon and Alibaba. To cover all that and more, I've enlisted the help of senior Motley Fool contributor, Asit Sharma. Hey, Asit! Welcome back!
Asit Sharma: Vince, namaste!
Shen: Great to have you with us! We have a lot to cover. We're going to jump right into the discussion. First, a little bit of context and some highlights from the official deal announcement, because we first covered the possibility that Walmart would invest in Flipkart back in March. At the time, it was reported to be just a $7 billion deal for a big stake of the company. Since those initial rumblings, and as investors have been waiting for an official deal to be announced, we kept hearing that it was imminent pretty much week after week. There were also reports that Amazon would potentially make a rival bid to prevent Walmart from succeeding.
But Walmart has finally delivered that final announcement. They did it on May 9th. The value of its investment in Flipkart has come out to $16 billion. This is the biggest deal ever for Walmart. It easily eclipses its $3 billion acquisition of jet.com from 2016. That $16 billion includes about $2 billion of new equity funding to support Flipkart growth. That's a necessity, given the competitive environment, which we'll dig into more later in the show.
With this deal, Walmart will get a 77% stake in Flipkart. That implies a total valuation for Flipkart of about $21 billion -- quite a jump from as recently as November 2016, when the company was valued at less than $6 billion. Then, the remainder of the ownership will be held by current investors. That includes some pretty big names like Tencent, Tiger Global, and Microsoft, and also the co-founder, Binny Bansal.
Before we go any further, I think the next thing we need to do is really lay out for listeners what Walmart is getting for this $16 billion check that it's writing. Asit, can you tell us a little bit more about Flipkart, the market in India, and what makes it such an attractive buyout target for any big retailer that's eyeing this region?
Sharma: Sure. As our listeners are probably familiar with, India is a huge market. There are 1.3 billion people in the market. But it's highly fragmented. India is a country which still has quite a rural population, and large swathes of the monetizable market there is based in big cities. Flipkart has sprung up in a short amount of time. The company was founded in 2007 by two guys who were friends, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal -- no relation, same last name. These two guys essentially had worked for Amazon and started out selling books online. Does that story sound familiar?
The company grew through acquisition and multiple rounds of funding. Today, it services most major cities in India. One of the prime pieces that Walmart obtains by buying Flipkart is this logistics or supply chain arm. This is called Ekart. Now, as Walmart announced in its press release, Ekart is in more than 800 cities, and it makes 500,000 deliveries daily. That's a massive amount for a country which, again, has quite a rural population. There's a lot of supply chain depth and expertise there.
In addition, Flipkart has been a serial acquirer of smaller businesses. It's bought fashion houses like the site called Myntra. There's another site called Jabong, which is an online fashion destination and a company called PhonePe. PhonePe is extremely interesting. It sounds like I'm saying "phone pay" -- translated from Hindi, roughly, this means "on the phone" or "you can do it on the phone" or "where the phone is". This is a burgeoning phone-based payments app. We will probably get deeper into the relation of payments to this whole e-commerce bit in India when we talk a little later in the show about competitors like Amazon and Alibaba, but PhonePe is another integral piece of this system that Walmart is buying.
Amazon, of course -- which, again, we will get to in a moment -- has a foot in the door. Alibaba is going in stages. It's entering the market very methodically. Walmart gets instant entry into a business which did about $3 billion worth of U.S. revenue last year.
And lastly, I want to add before I send it back to you, Vince, Flipkart has pioneered a holiday that it created by itself. These are Billion Dollar Days. You have Singles Day in China. In the U.S., you have Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Billion Dollar Days is sequence of five days in India which takes place during the festival season in the fall. This is late September. Flipkart tells everyone in India that prices are going up, but during these five days, you're going to see them lowered. It's become a huge week of selling for the company. Walmart instantly acquires that big surge of sales within five business days. Again, we'll talk more about that.
But what I see is, it's getting an integrated piece of e-commerce, which, with its own very ample resources, it can extend and try to dominate before Amazon grabs the market share that Flipkart's created.
Shen: Sure. I think what you mentioned, in terms of this integrated organization, is really important. The Flipkart umbrella, like you said, it includes that namesake platform and then that fashion focus, Myntra and Jabong, that PhonePe payments business, the Ekart supply chain segment. The almost four-for-one nature of this deal is very, very important, because it offers that full e-commerce package with the marketplace, with apparel retail, with the payments business and the beginnings of a pretty extensive fulfillment and logistics network that Walmart will be able to build off of.
I found some figures for the broad retail industry in India. Electronics and apparel account for about 47% and 31% of online shopping respectively. As it turns out, large appliances, fashion and mobile phones and electronics make up the most important categories for Flipkart, as well. That aligns quite well for them.
Then, getting into some of the additional specific numbers for the company and then for the opportunity, for the fiscal year ending March 31st, Flipkart had annual gross merchandise value pinned at about $7.5 billion. Then, the revenue was around $4.6 billion. It might be a little different than what you mentioned, Asit. A few of the different sources, depending on what time of year, the numbers differ slightly. But what's important to keep in mind is both those figures in terms of gross merchandise value and revenue, they were both up 50% year over year from what I could find in the press release. Then, active customers for the company as well, they've grown about 7x since 2014 to over 50 million last year. Important to note that.
If we move on a little bit to the broader opportunity here in India, I think those figures that we've discussed are representative of the very strong growth that's expected in India overall the next several decades. We zoom out and take a broader look at this market, the scale and opportunity here is really incredible. You mentioned 1.3 billion people in the country. They have really strong GDP growth that's expected to make India the world's second-largest economy by 2040. The middle class is growing very quickly. You have to keep in mind that e-commerce penetration is still very, very low here. It's forecasted to grow at 4x the overall rate of retail in the near-term.
Morgan Stanley, I found, they have their own projections that online shopping in India will grow from $30 billion to $200 billion in the next decade. On top of that, the 14% of internet users currently making online purchases will expand to over 50%, so quite a jump there. I think that context helps to explain why Walmart is willing to spend so much on this deal, not to mention the competitors who are also pouring billions into the market.
But even as bullish as all that sounds and appears, Walmart's stock actually declined about 3% the day of the announcement. I think the skeptics are worried by several things, including the price tag for this majority Flipkart stake. I'm curious, Asit, are you sympathetic to the bears at all and their concerns that maybe Walmart is diving in too quickly at too high a price? Given in the past, especially in international markets, they've sometimes taken, in early stages, like in India, more of a partnership approach versus a majority acquisition approach like they're doing here.
Sharma: I'm sympathetic to the bears, but I understand where the bulls are coming from, too. You don't see the bulls rushing in now. They've already owned this stock, let's put it that way. I don't think Walmart attracted new bulls with this deal.
To go back to the numbers that I cited earlier and also to explain, if any listeners are seeing both of these sets of figures out there. This is relevant to answering Vince's question. The $3 billion worth of U.S commerce that I was citing before was as of the last fiscal year, which was reported at March 31, 2017. Indian companies take a little bit longer to report. We do have rough figures out, which Vince mentioned, for this current fiscal year. Those were cited by Walmart. If you look at the most recently reported numbers, which were just put out into the market, that's $4.6 billion, indeed.
But going back to last year's numbers, because we have a more complete set, Flipkart lost $1.3 billion on the $3 billion in revenue it was able to claim. This is indicative of the e-commerce market. As Western investors, we're used to seeing these kinds of numbers, because Amazon has trained us to expect market share growth and early losses. But Walmart investors are very interested in Walmart's model, which is a model of growth with small profit, incremental profit each year.
I know that when Walmart announced this deal, they also had to tell shareholders, "Look, we are looking at a headwind of about $0.60 in earnings per share from this deal, because we're going to have to fund some losses." Of course, they're after the potential competitors like Alibaba and the more formidable competitors like Amazon. Vince mentioned that provision to invest another $3 billion before the anniversary date of this deal rolls around. Also, he mentioned $2 billion in cash, so there's new equity coming into this deal. Aside from buying out the first $14 billion from previous investors, Walmart is pumping that $2 billion of additional money in, of course, to have even wider sales and try to compete.
But looking at the total picture and the opportunity here for Flipkart, I do want to say that it has some things figured out in a way that Amazon is still learning. If you've ever had the opportunity to travel to India and live there for a while, maybe in one of the big cities, you've probably seen that it's already a delivery-oriented culture. Everyone who lives in a city of any size is used to a steady stream of vendors coming throughout the day. Someone is bringing the milk, someone is bringing the fruit. Your local grocer may be 50 to 200 meters away, and he or she is going to call you in the morning, "Hey, do you need some more chicken? I can send it up." Labor is still very cheap in India, so on an economic basis, it's easy for small stores to send people up to your flat, your apartment. This is a model that's existed for a long time. Flipkart really took to this model, and its own delivery is based on a cheap, very low-cost delivery system.
It's set an interesting bar for Amazon. To go into a little bit of detail with delivery, in Flipkart's model, if you buy an item that's over 500 rupees, you get it free -- the delivery fee is free, you have to pay for the item. [laughs] So what is 500 rupees? At current exchange rates, that's about $7.50. When Amazon came into India just a few years ago and decided it really wanted to compete with Flipkart, it knew that it had to offer its Prime service at a figure which would make them competitive with that number. So you get a Prime subscription in India for 1,000 rupees -- $15. This reflects both Amazon's desire to compete with Flipkart but the basic economics of delivery. The human labor component of it is very cheap still.
Where Amazon might have an edge is in the fact that it builds fulfillment centers. You see a new one spring up every week here in the U.S., it seems, and the same is in India. I just want to point out that in the few years that Amazon has been in the Indian market, it has built 41 fulfillment centers, and it has about 26 sorting centers in addition.
I'm probably offering up a good transition into talking about the competitive aspects of the deal for Walmart. But to recapitulate my answer to your question, Vince, I think longer-term, this is worth the investment of billions that it's going to take. But this isn't even a case of years, this is a case of investing over the next couple decades.
Shen: We're going to move on to the competition, because there's some really interesting developments there. I'll just add that something to keep in mind if you're a Walmart investor or if you're considering picking up shares, you like this opportunity and you like the other opportunities that it has in its bigger markets, like in the U.S. Walmart does have some experience in India as well. It first entered the market about ten years ago in partnership with Bharti Enterprises and has an existing 21 Best Price stores, totaling about 1 million square feet of brick-and-mortar retail presence in the country.
This deal -- the company is funding it with a mix of cash and debt. When the deal closes, Flipkart will be reported as part of Walmart's international segment. That segment generated almost $120 billion of revenue last year, about a quarter of the company's total top line. Just keep in mind that scale here, again. For a company like this, massive, it takes a lot to move the needle.
On the investor call, analysts dedicated a decent amount of time to questions regarding the deal's impact on Walmart's financials. Asit, you mentioned that $0.60 per share headwind for earnings. I'll just expand on that. The purchase will have a negative impact on fiscal 2019 earnings specifically, about $0.25 to $0.30 per share. And then, the following year, due to those ongoing investments in India, the earnings hit will be another $0.60 per share.
You have to keep in mind that for the trailing 12-month period, earnings were $3.28 per share, so that's no small impact on the bottom line. Not only that, another question that cropped up on the investor call that I think is important is, you have to consider whether a $16 billion spend in India -- that's a 5x sales valuation for Flipkart, by the way so quite generous -- will mean that Walmart will be forced to short change its investments in its home market and other markets. Clearly, the company is thinking about its global footprint right now and its operations.
This is actually the second of two big deals from Walmart in the past month or so, because they also had that announcement regarding Asda and Sainsbury in the U.K. market. Really quick, we didn't cover that on Industry Focus. Recently, Walmart announced that it's going to allow its third-place supermarket chain, Asda, to be acquired by the No. 2 chain, Sainsbury, for about $10 billion in a cash and stock deal. Walmart will still hold on to a 42% stake in the combined company, and that company, if it passes regulatory muster, will take the crown as the U.K.'s largest grocer with $70 billion of sales and 2,000 stores. But management is clearly thinking about their international operations and how they want to right-size things and optimize things.
Going back to Flipkart, though, Walmart's management noted that spending and losses in India will shrink over time. But declining losses, that's not the same as turning a profit. As we've seen with the long history with Amazon, that does take time. Management was ultimately unwilling to look out beyond fiscal 2020 to pinpoint when Flipkart, for example, might transition its bottom line to the black.
The last thing I'll note: if you're a Walmart shareholder, the company also has a pretty spotty track record outside North America. The U.S. and Mexico operations, strong, but the company has either shuttered, sold out of, or downsized operations in places like Germany, South Korea, Japan, and Brazil. It also sold its Yihaodian e-commerce arm in China to JD.com for a stake in JD.com. That's a lot of context and considerations to keep in mind. I think, in this case, Walmart has considered some of those challenges, and they've said to themselves, "We're going to write a big check, $16 billion, to take this majority stake and immediately have a place as the No. 1 e-commerce player in this very fast-growing, important market."
The next thing I'd like to touch on is just what Walmart brings to the table for Flipkart, too. You have to keep in mind that Walmart generates significant revenue from groceries, and Flipkart does not. That presents a big opportunity for Walmart to lend its expertise in that food and groceries category. Retail in India is over $650 billion, and grocery and foods account for the majority of that. They represent something very important in that they are consistent, repeatable purchases. Then, not only that, but Walmart will also have plenty of expertise in terms of any brick-and-mortar operations that pop up, the e-commerce supply chains, and it can connect Flipkart, obviously, with a huge network of product vendors and suppliers.
So all in all, I think from what I've seen, Flipkart will remain a more independent part of the international segment, similar to how Marc Lore has been given the reins for e-commerce within the United States. Then, with Flipkart, their branding is really interesting, because they market themselves as this homegrown Indian success story, and they're focused on really great customer experiences.
But that brings us now, finally, to a look at the competitive landscape. Let's talk a little bit about how competition in India is shaping up. How do things look on that end, Asit?
Sharma: The first thing that we want to look at is, I think, delivery logistics, which I mentioned earlier. Ultimately, this will determine who wins in India. When I order from Amazon, I might order toothpaste. I've done it occasionally. I might order some household goods. But again, in India, because of these small grocers -- the term is kirana, it's like your neighborhood grocer -- there's a large amount of goods on a U.S. website or Walmart or Amazon which you simply don't see as much on a Flipkart website or Amazon.in. The battlegrounds are really in electronics, in mobile phones, and in fashion. Flipkart, as you mentioned, Vince, that's where it's been really successful, and that's where Amazon has to compete. So confined to these goods, the delivery becomes extremely important.
Vince, you mentioned the stumbles that Walmart has had over the years with foreign investments. This is the one thing that bothers me about this deal. In competing with Amazon, I do believe that Walmart will have to invest in more infrastructure. One of the reasons they don't want to talk about eventual profits or losses beyond this window of a year or two is because, I think, they're going to the drawing board and figuring out what they need to build out in India to compete with those fulfillment centers and sorting facilities I mentioned.
Amazon is extremely good at understanding local market logistics. One of the things they've done in India is to go into that very difficult thing called the last mile. Here in the U.S., last-mile logistics may mean, from a UPS center, getting that onto your doorstep, or the U.S. Postal Service getting it to your mailbox. You can imagine a city in India, which, they're incredibly dense, very, very, difficult sometimes to find an address.
Amazon has actually partnered up with thousands of these small stores that I mentioned, these kirana stores. They have about 27,000 stores they have relationships with, and they have an app which enables Amazon to take a parcel from its sorting center to these mom and pop shops, and they can wash their hands of the delivery from there. The mom or pop will deliver the goods to this hard-to-find address, maybe behind a bazaar -- that is, a marketplace -- or in a dense neighborhood. The person who delivers it then gets paid once a month using this app. So Amazon is fighting back against Flipkart's really well-entrenched logistical capability. And Walmart is going to have to invest here.
Moving on, we should talk about the other big player in India, and that's Alibaba, the company founded by Jack Ma. Alibaba is sort of interesting. I talked about how Walmart is coming in and getting this one piece. Alibaba is very methodical in the way it enters countries. India is actually its first real big foray outside of China. And they have started with two interesting acquisitions, to me. The first is a company called PayTM, like ATM, it's pronounced Pay-t-m. This is another phone-enabled payment service, and it's a competitor to Flipkart's own PhonePe service. This was acquired in, I believe, 2015. I might need to correct that in a moment.
Shen: It wasn't too long ago.
Sharma: It wasn't too long ago. Alibaba has only been in India, actually, for about two years. Recently, they added to their strategy by acquiring a company called BigBasket. This was a $200 million acquisition of an online grocer. Vince talked about the importance of grocery to Walmart. In a country with 1.3 billion people, where food distribution is a problem and the options for people who have resources -- that is, this burgeoning middle class -- those options are expanding. It's really important to get a foothold in the online grocery marketplace, and Alibaba has made its first investment in this space there.
So you see Alibaba also coming in, picking and choosing its own parts of the battlefield. But you can look for them to also be a formidable competitor. Right now, they don't have the type of market share that Flipkart and Amazon do, but as a Walmart investor, you want to keep your eye on what Alibaba's up to.
Shen: Yeah. I'll say, just to wrap up the competitive discussion, some things to remember, especially with Amazon, is they're entering this Indian market, and I feel like, in the back of their minds, they're kind of remembering what happened to them in China, where they were shut out by domestic players like Alibaba and JD. So they're going to be very aggressive in how they invest in India. I think they've already had plans to invest about $5 billion in the region, and it has only taken them a few years to catch up and take the No. 2 position behind Flipkart in terms of e-commerce. Half of that $5 billion dollars that they've spent, I've found, has been in logistics -- faster, more reliable delivery. Amazon has seen how important that convenience was in setting it apart in its home market, and I'm sure they believe that a robust logistics delivery network will offer similar advantages in this market.
In terms of market share, some of the numbers varied by source, but I found market share figures for Flipkart and for Amazon at about 36% and 20% respectively in 2017. In terms of the war chest for these companies, prior to this Walmart deal, Flipkart's estimated to have raised about $7.5 billion from other investment and funding rounds. As of August last year, the company said that they had about $4 billion on their balance sheet to grow operations in India. But on a monthly basis, I found an interesting number where Amazon is burning through about $35 to $40 million every month in this market, while Flipkart is at about half that, $17 to $18 million, as they've had to rein in their spending a little bit.
Those are the top two players. Alibaba, I think, we've covered the big investments that they've made. In total, I think, they've spent about $2 billion in India through these various start-ups, these various e-commerce companies. Some others that I found include Zomato, that's a food tech start-up; Xpressbees, another logistics start-up. Overall, Alibaba appears to be taking a slower approach, but they're keeping a very long-term mindset as they develop the important pillars to their e-commerce strategy, and that includes, for them, logistics, payments with PayTM, and then grocery.
Closing out our discussion here, I'll note a few other things about this deal and what to look forward to. Brett Biggs, he's the Walmart CFO, he mentioned during the investor call regarding the deal that other parties might actually come in on this investment round. I thought that was interesting to note. I haven't seen any news regarding who those investors might be.
But I actually have seen reports about a potential change of heart from SoftBank and their initial decision to part with their entire 21% stake in Flipkart. Apparently, SoftBank said on paper that they're ready to sell out of their entire stake. That's a big part of this deal and what drove Walmart to make the announcement. But now, they're having second thoughts, potentially. But even if they do, and Walmart doesn't pick up SoftBank's specific stake, they'll still be a majority shareholder, but their stake will be closer to 56%. That's just something interesting to keep in mind as that part of the negotiations is finalized. You mentioned, Asit, earlier, that Walmart will have the option to invest an additional $3 billion more in Flipkart at the same valuation level within a year of closing the current deal. That might bump up its ownership stake as well.
Then, Walmart management was very tight-lipped about this, but there were also some questions and discussion during the investor call about an eventual Flipkart IPO, and what the timeline for that might be and how the company views that. But the management team wasn't willing to share very much. But it's definitely something that I'm sure the company is looking at as a way to harvest on this very large investment for the company.
We have a couple more minutes here. Any final thoughts from you on this deal, the various competitors, anything before we wrap up?
Sharma: You described the situation really clearly, Vince. At this point, there are major investors who are now becoming minority investors looking to cash out. It's interesting. I also read -- again, this is not gospel yet -- eBay is another early investor, and they're thinking of getting back into India. So they had invested in Flipkart and let Flipkart grow, and now they're thinking, "Well, maybe we cash out here and go it alone and become another entrant." They certainly have the muscle.
So yes, competition and concerns about competition are ruling the current market's reaction to Walmart. But I would urge investors to look ahead. I'm going to read you a couple more statistics from probably the same Morgan Stanley report that Vince was referencing earlier. Currently, India has about 800 million mobile users. This is a country which is very young, has a young demographic, and most of the transactions are teenagers and kids who are even younger. Their lifetimes are going to be conducted over mobile phones. Morgan Stanley believes, in the next ten years, internet access is going to double and that 915 million Indians will be using the internet by 2026. A large majority of those will be mobile users. Flipkart has a great mobile interface.
I will also say, the last thing why I think this is a good deal the longer that you look out, it's always good to invest in the local incumbent. Flipkart has a handle on Indian culture. If you get a chance to look at their site, you'll see it's very cleanly laid out, very much like a western e-commerce site. But it also has that quirky Indian humor that I love, being of Indian extraction, and many would recognize. Their big meme is small kids dressed up like old people.
They're called Flipkart Kids. They have some hilarious videos on YouTube that Indians love to watch. I watched a few in preparation for this episode, and I was chuckling for a long time. But these kids are the brand ambassadors for Flipkart, and they certainly have a lot of goodwill with Indian consumers. I think that's smart and a plus for Walmart.
Amazon, on the other hand, is slowly but surely working its way into the Indian psyche. I did have a chance to have a call this weekend with some friends who live in Bombay, you know it as Mumbai. They order from both services. These are up-and-coming middle class kids. They love both services. They said that they both deliver on time, they're great deals. So while Walmart has a little bit of edge in its entrance into Indian culture, Amazon, as usual, shows what a tough competitor it is. It's using print media to wedge its way into the Indian psyche.
So again, near-term, yes, it's going to cut some of Walmart's profitability. Long-term, they have the resources to invest and stay in this market. I'm looking out to where Morgan Stanley is: 2026. If you're a long-term Walmart shareholder, you should be looking out ten years as well.
Shen: Thanks, Asit. I'll just add some big takeaways that I saw on my end. One of them is that Indian consumers are going to be benefiting, I think, quite a bit over the next decade as these three companies that we've talked about -- Walmart, Amazon, and Alibaba, they also happen to have a combined market share of over $1.5 trillion -- these companies are going to be duking it out. Low pricing, attractive promotions, better service, faster delivery, more product selection -- these are all going to be trotted out and constantly improved upon by each company, so big benefit for consumers there.
And for the American companies, we know Amazon is willing to grit its teeth through significant international losses to expand beyond its more saturated home market. Walmart has been consolidating and regaining its footing for years. This is its biggest bet in a long time on an international market. India makes sense to me, given the growth and low e-commerce penetration that was discussed earlier.
Then, Alibaba, closing out, its focus on India signals to me that e-commerce in China, the growth there is still very strong, I think it's still coming in with annual double-digit growth, but it's slowing. And looking out long-term, India is so important, the company probably wants to avoid getting boxed out by entering too late, basically not becoming a victim to what they did to Amazon.
So it's a really interesting deal to see here and really timely for our international theme week. Thank you very much for joining us, Asit!
Sharma: Thanks so much, Vince! And thanks, listeners!
Shen: People on the program may own companies discussed on the show, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against any stocks mentioned, so don't buy or sell anything based solely on what you hear during the program. Thanks for listening, and Fool on!
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Asit Sharma has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Vincent Shen owns shares of Amazon and Tencent Holdings. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, JD.com, and Tencent Holdings. The Motley Fool recommends eBay. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.