Alibaba And SoftBank Join Forces For Indian E-commerce

Alibaba and SoftBank are holding joint discussions with bankers in India as they try to secure a slice of India's consumer e-commerce market, according to India's Economic Times.

The preliminary meetings are to discuss potential targets for the two companies, according to an unnamed source who was present at the meetings. SoftBank is the largest investor in Alibaba (which currently does only B2B onllne commerce in India) as well as in Snap deal, which is one of the top three online retailers in India and competes against Amazon and Flip kart.

One scenario discussed involves Alibaba participating in follow-on rounds of funding for companies in Soft Bank's Indian portfolio, which includes Snap deal, taxi services firm Ola cabs and online real estate venture Housing. Alibaba could also acquire a majority stake in ventures identified by SoftBank, which expects to invest up to $10 billion in India.

The talks come at a time when India's consumer Internet market is estimated to grow to $43 billion by 2019, with online retail contributing about $23 billion, according to Nomura Securities. Investment banker Nitin Agarwal of Equirus Capital said India is "an open battlefield between Amazon and Alibaba, and both are going full steam ahead to capture this market."

But regulatory ambiguity continues to surround Indian e-commerce, specially relating to tax burdens and foreign direct investments. "SoftBank is taking a very focused approach towards Internet businesses across Southeast Asia, and India is the largest and the most critical market in the region," Agarwal said.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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