Alibaba plans major expansion in India

Dated: March 19, 2016

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans a "direct entry" into the Indian market this year as the company looks at both online and offline play to increase its presence in one of the world's largest retail markets. Top officials from the Jack Ma-led Chinese company are understood to have spoken about the intention for a greater play during a meeting with telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who assured the company that the government would support their bid to expand operations.

"Alibaba is very keen on coming to India in a very big way, particularly in the ecommerce sector," a senior government official said. "They're only exploring the way - whether to go on their own or set up shop with someone else."

Alibaba has already made significant investments in India's ecommerce sector. It owns a majority stake in ecommerce company Paytm and a small stake in Snapdeal, among the top local etailers.

The Chinese company has often compared India favourably with its home market. It has said that over 16 years ago when Alibaba started, China went from becoming a no-Internet country to one of the most advanced ecommerce ecosystems in the world. India is at a much advanced stage and growing at a very fast rate compared with the China of those times. Founder Jack Ma visited India three times in one year and also met the prime minister.

Ecommerce in India is likely to be worth $38 billion by the end of 2016, a 67% jump from a year ago and a 10-fold jump since 2009, according to industry body Assocham. It said revenue will grow five-fold to seven-fold during this period.



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