The Indian government’s open e-commerce network ONDC has expanded its operations to 236 cities in the country, adding more than 36,000 merchants in the process, a senior company official said Thursday.
The government last year launched the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to give small businesses and retailers access to processes and technology typically provided by large e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Walmart.
The nonprofit’s network currently displays products and services from all participating e-commerce platforms in the search results of all of its network’s apps.
“ONDC supports small merchants while aiming to make e-commerce more inclusive and accessible for consumers,” T. Koshy, the company’s CEO, told reporters.
The network is seeing a slow and steady surge in transactions, he said.
The government has stated that existing platforms will be tightly controlled and many small players will be kept out. ONDC is expected to increase competition and encourage start-up innovation.
T. Koshy said the company is in talks with taxi operators to begin operations in at least four cities after successfully launching mobility operations in two cities in southern India.
More than 55,000 taxi owners have already joined the network, and consumers use it for about 35,000 trips a day, he said.
The platform has helped taxi owners offer services while saving hefty commissions paid to other platforms and offering lower fares to passengers, said Shaikh Salauddin, head of the Telengana Four Wheeler Drivers Association and taxi driver.
“ONDC’s move has helped promote fair competition in e-commerce and benefit consumers and small players.”
The ONDC aims to increase e-commerce penetration in a country of 1.4 billion people from almost 8 percent today to 25 percent of Indian consumer purchases over the next two years.
On Tuesday, the government announced that India’s state postal service, which has a network of nearly 160,000 post offices, will also join the ONDC network to offer logistics services to small traders across the country.