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Competition from Indian entrepreneurs in the field of food delivery poses a risk to road safety

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In Science and Space: An Indian food start-up is attracting tech-savvy customers with promises of delivery within 10 minutes, sparking a ‘quick trade’ craze, but cyclists are scurrying to meet tight deadlines. Concerns about road safety are on the rise. Competition is already heating up in India’s $600 billion grocery retail industry, home to companies like Amazon, Walmart’s Flipkart, and Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance. Now, his SoftBank-backed Blinkit and its rival, her Zepto, need far more time and days to hire employees, open stores and capture market share than the needs of the competition offer.

As activity grows, research firm RedSeer says India’s quick commerce sector, worth $300 million last year, will swell 10-15 times to touch $5 billion by 2025. Blinkit and Zepto, started by two 19-year-old dropouts from Stanford, have caught consumers’ fancy, satisfying cravings for food and impulse shopping, as well as urgent needs for daily supplies. “This is very convenient, it has made a lifestyle change,” said Sharmistha Lahiri, who now turns to Blinkit to fill the gap when ingredients suddenly run out in her kitchen, from tomatoes for soup to chocolate icing for a cake.

Desperate to offer his 10 minute delivery that is short and convenient. Their mission is to fill so-called dark stores and small warehouses in densely populated neighborhood buildings with groceries within minutes and get cyclists out to nearby locations in about seven minutes. “This is a threat to big companies,” Ashwin Mehta, senior IT analyst at Ambit Capital, told Reuters. “If people get used to 10 minutes, those companies offering 24-hour deliveries will be forced to reduce their timelines.”

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The 75-year-old, who lives in the city of Gurugram near the capital, New Delhi, was a keen user of Amazon and Indian conglomerate Tata’s online grocer BigBasket, but prizes Blinkit’s rapid response in such situations. The unbeatable convenience of rapid deliveries is evident in Europe and the United States, where companies such as Turkey’s Getir and Germany’s Gorillas are expanding fast, but India’s accident-prone roads make quick commerce a dangerous business.

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