Reliance Industries’ chairman Mukesh Ambani said that Reliance will launch its online shopping platform to 1.2 million retailers and store-owners in India at an event on Friday.

The new commerce platforms will be launched to ’empower’ and ‘enrich’ small retailers.

Mr Ambani said, “We will launch a unique new commerce platform to empower and enrich our 12 lakh small retailers and shopkeepers in Gujarat – which are part of over 3 crore community in India.”

Ambani had previously spoken of leveraging the Jio network for launching some sort of an e-commerce venture. Jio has over 280 million subscribers with internet access.

A new offline-to-online platform is expected to be launched in 12 to 18 months across the country, according to people familiar with the matter.

The energy-to-consumer conglomerate joins Amazon and Flipkart in expanding aggressively in the world’s fastest-growing major e-commerce market, where organized retail is still a rarity. Jio currently has 280 million telecom subscribers, while Ambani’s retail arm operates nearly 10,000 outlets across more than 6,500 Indian cities and towns.

“Jio and Reliance Retail will launch a unique new commerce platform to empower and enrich our 12 lakh small retailers and shopkeepers in Gujarat,” the Reliance chairman said at an event in the state on Friday.

Last month, an e-commerce policy with tightened rules, disallowed foreign-owned online retailers from pushing merchants to sell exclusively through their platforms. It also barred them from selling products via companies in which they own equity.