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Asia Minute: 7-Eleven comes to India this weekend with first store in Mumbai

A 7-Eleven is shown in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
Paul Sakuma/AP
A 7-Eleven is shown in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

A popular Western retailer is coming to India for the first time. It’s the latest development in a global business story — an American brand, backed by Japanese funding, with big plans for India.

7-Eleven is coming to Mumbai this weekend.

Plans are for a “rapid rollout” of stores across the city, which is India’s financial capital.

And that’s just the beginning.

Local partner Reliance Industries and its billionaire CEO Mukesh Ambani have plans to put 7-Eleven stores throughout India.

Ambani snatched the opportunity from one of India’s largest supermarket operators.

Future Retail pulled out of a distribution deal with 7-Eleven because of a cash shortage and debt issues.

The 7-Eleven chain was started in the 1920s in Dallas — where its U.S. base remains.

By the way, that 7-Eleven name comes from what was an early innovation in longer store hours — at that point staying open from 7 in the morning until 11 at night.

Thirty years ago, 70% of 7-Eleven was bought by Japanese retailer Ito-Yokado — and 7-Eleven remains a subsidiary of a Tokyo-based company.

Back in Mumbai, Mukesh Ambani wants to increase retail space for his sprawling conglomerate.

That effort includes a legal battle for the assets of Future Retail — the Indian company that was forced to bow out of the 7-Eleven deal.

The rival in that court battle?

Another billionaire’s company — this one named Amazon.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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