Alibaba, largest e-commerce entity in China, is setting up its first India office in Mumbai, apparently an indication that it would step up investment in the country in the coming year, to capture a pie of the growing e-commerce market here.
So far, the Jack Ma-founded enterprise has been a preferred platform for small businesses in India to source industrial goods from China. And, for vendors selling their products to customers globally. Alibaba has invested in Indian e-commerce company Snapdeal, and in Paytm, the mobile payments service platform, through Ant Financials, its payment arm.
It has, though, kept its plan to enter e-commerce in India under wraps. By setting up a office at Platina in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, closer to that of US rival Amazon,it appears to now be signalling the intent that it is serious on entering.
“Given the kind of merchant network they have, India is definitely a potential market for them,” says Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Third Eyesight, a consultancy for e-commerce firms. “There needs to be significant investment from Alibaba because Amazon is on a high and though Flipkart and Snapdeal are on a low, they’ve invested significant money in the delivery network.”