It’s mere weeks to the festival of Diwali, the season of lavish, reckless consumption, and in a cavernous warehouse minutes from the Hyderabad airport, hundreds of workers are furiously sorting mountains of everyday items.

There are sunglasses and shaving creams, sewing machines, vegetable slicers and microwave ovens, all lined up by Inc. to sate the shopping frenzy that’s India’s Black Friday and Christmas combined. The windowless 400,000 square foot facility is fitted with 500 kilometers of cables and 16,000 fire sprinklers. Sellers pour in with their wares precariously balanced on two-wheelers, or in autorickshaws and pickup trucks.

It’s Amazon’s largest – and newest - such center in the South Asian country, and it offers a view into the company’s ramp up in this crucial market ahead of a festival sale collision this week with local rival Flipkart Online Services Pvt. The Indian investments show the Seattle-based retailer using a strategy similar to the U.S., where a vast network of warehouses allowed it to offer quick, cheap delivery and distinguish itself from competitors like Ebay Inc.

The e-commerce giant has a lot riding in the country after its washout in the world’s other large market, China, where Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.and other local players have prevailed. Amazon has said its international loss grew over fivefold from a year ago to $724 million in the quarter ending in June. Part of that can be attributed to its investments in India, including additions to storage capacity.

“Fulfilment centers are extremely critical for the success of our Indian operations,” said Amazon’s India head Amit Agarwal, using company-speak for warehouses. “We have doubled our storage capacity in the last one year to meet our rapid growth in India.”

Bangalore-based Flipkart still has a lead in the Indian e-commerce market. But Amazon is also expanding at ripping speeds, and in the last year alone has roughly doubled size on several metrics. Warehouse capacity has risen to 13 million cubic feet, sellers to over 225,000 and products to more than 160 million.

During the lead-up to the annual holiday, Amazon and Flipkart have played a cloak-and-dagger game, each waiting for the other to announce sale dates. Recently rejuvenated with an added $3 billion in cash after fresh funding from big name investors including Tencent Holdings Ltd., Microsoft Corp. and SoftBank Vision Fund, Flipkart is preparing to launch its own holiday blitzkrieg.

When the domestic player finally went public with its timetable, Amazon responded by timing its four-day Great Indian Festival Sale to exactly overlap with Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale. The buzz of activity at the warehouse will only quicken when the Amazon sale opens on Thursday.

Flipkart, meanwhile, says it’ll triumph by doubling sales over its own numbers last year and trounce competition by quadrupling shipments of smartphones. “Our Big Billion Days sale is not about discounts alone, but about exclusive selections on a plethora of products in mobile, fashion and appliances that rivals do not have,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

It’s also boasting of industry firsts such as monthly payments against purchases charged to debit cards and hundreds of thousands of personalized video promotions on social media during the sale days. On warehouses, the company said it doesn’t share numbers.

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