By ERIKA KINETZ, Associated Press
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Amazon.com is coming to India, with the Thursday launch of Junglee.com, a watered-down version of its global shopping portal.
Junglee.com offers 12 million products from more than 14,000 Indian and global brands, the Seattle-based company said in a statement Thursday.
The site allows shoppers to compare prices, but most actual purchases must be made through a network of third-party retailers.
Indians will be able to buy shoes from Reebok, computer gadgets from Microsoft India, clothes from Fabindia and luxury leather handbags from Hidesign.
Some items — including the Kindle — are sold by Amazon.com directly, but will be subject to steep international shipping and customs fees.
"We are excited to give customers in India a single online starting point where they can shop a wide selection of products sold by local and global retailers, and make informed purchasing decisions," Amit Agarwal, vice president of Amazon.com, said in a statement.
Internet penetration in India remains low, but online retailing is a fast-growing business.
India's e-commerce market is expected to grow from $10 billion in 2011 to $200 billion by 2020, as the number of Indians with Internet access expands eightfold, to 800 million, according to Technopak Advisors, a consulting company based in New Delhi.
Amazon's arrival will ratchet up competition among local heavyweights such as FlipKart.com, which was started by two former Amazon employees, and offers speedy, cash-on-delivery service for a range of products, including books, electronics, music and home appliances.
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