Google Cloud has unveiled a new accelerator program aimed at bolstering the growth of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), an Indian government-backed initiative. The announcement was made by Ambarish Kenghe, Vice President of Google Pay, at a developer conference held in Bengaluru.
The primary objective of the accelerator program is to provide businesses with access to Google Cloud’s cutting-edge technology and expert guidance, facilitating their seamless integration into the ONDC network and enabling the creation of enhanced digital commerce experiences.
“Our accelerator program for ONDC is designed to support the expansion of India’s thriving network of digital sellers,” stated Kenghe, highlighting Google’s commitment to fostering India’s digital ecosystem through technological innovation and capabilities.
As part of the program, Google Cloud will offer its core infrastructure application programming interfaces (APIs) to ONDC participants as an open-source solution. Additionally, the tech giant plans to provide retail search and generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools to enhance the buyer and seller experiences on the network.
Furthermore, Google Cloud intends to launch an ONDC startup credits program, allowing participants to apply for grants of up to $25,000. This initiative aims to provide financial support and encourage the growth of startups within the ONDC ecosystem.
The integration of address descriptors on Google Maps will also enhance the serviceability of ONDC orders, ensuring a more seamless delivery experience for users.
Expressing enthusiasm about the addition of Google Cloud’s accelerator program, T Koshy, Managing Director and CEO at ONDC, emphasized that it reinforces ONDC’s mission to revolutionize the ecommerce landscape by ushering in a new era of efficiency, agility, and customer-centricity.
ONDC, a private non-profit company backed by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), aims to democratize ecommerce and increase its penetration in India. The platform was soft-launched in April of last year in five cities, including Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong, and Coimbatore. Following its initial success, ONDC was opened to the public in Bengaluru and has steadily onboarded several key players to scale the network.
The integration of various services, including Marico’s Saffola Store, Paytm, PhonePe, Delhivery, Shiprocket, Dunzo, and Snapdeal, has further solidified ONDC’s position in the market.
While initial speculations hinted at ONDC potentially posing a long-term risk to industry leaders like Zomato and Swiggy, industry analysts have commented that the current form of ONDC does not present a significant threat. However, the network’s potential for scaling could have implications in the future.
Recently, ONDC announced an impressive 500X increase in daily transactions, with orders surging from 50 in January to a remarkable 25,000 orders in the first week of May. This surge underscores ONDC’s growing influence in India’s digital commerce landscape and demonstrates the platform’s rapid expansion.
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