Alibaba to double No. of Indian sellers in 1 month


NEW DELHI: Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, is gearing up for a bigger push in India. Alibaba.com, the subsidiary of the Jack Ma-led company, wants to more than double the number of Indian SMEs (small and medium enterprises) on its platform by next month. It plans to take the total number of Indian sellers on board to 10 million from 4.5 million at present. In contrast, home-grown B2C e-commerce company Snapdeal, in which Alibaba has a stake, has around 2.5 lakh sellers.
On Monday, Alibaba launched an online platform SMILE (small and medium industries leveraging export) in conjunction with partners such as ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Crisil Rating, Tally, Capital Float, Jeena, SGS and Mypacco to encourage Indian SMEs to come on board. Alibaba, along with these partners, will provide a 360-degree support system, including finance and training, to small businesses that are looking to scale up. The sellers will be able to trade globally on the Alibaba platform.
“This is Alibaba’s way of digging in heels in the Indian e-commerce industry. They will first establish a supply chain and study it in detail. Then, they will bring in their B2C business here after the discounting game is over. Ma knows that funding others is not the way to enjoy the potential of this market,” said a top executive of one of India’s largest e-commerce companies. Interestingly, after China, India supplies Alibaba with the largest number SMEs. Alibaba has spent around $680 million for a 40% stake in Indian payments start-up Paytm.alibaba-com-1
“Essentially, Alibaba is looking to expand its manufacturing base in those categories that do not have a strong presence in China such as jewellery, handicrafts and handloom,” said the executive. Globally, Alibaba.com has around 40 million sellers. Transactions on its online sites in 2013 amounted to around $248 billion, which is more than that of Amazon and eBay together. India’s e-commerce market is set to touch around $300 billion by 2030, according to Goldman Sachs.Timothy Leung, head of global business development for Alibaba.com, said it’s Alibaba’s way of showing its commitment to the ‘government’s Make in India and Digital India programmes. “The idea is to grow the pie. India is a very important market for us. All our partners will be promoting each other. For instance, if a small business goes to ICICI Bank, it will tell him to sell on Alibaba. We are not looking at immediate returns with this programme,” he said.

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