NEW DELHI: The Alibaba Group plans to expand its presence in India this year, highlighting the South Asian nation’s importance to China’s largest online retailer. “We are planning to enter the e-commerce business in India in 2016. We have been exploring very carefully the e-commerce opportunity in this country, which we think is very exciting on the backdrop of Digital India,” Alibaba Group President J Michael Evans said here.”We have investments in both payments and e-commerce already and we will over the course of next year will figure about exactly what our strategy is,” Evans said.Alibaba Group president Michael Evans and global managing director K Guru Gowrappan met Communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday and underlined the company’s interest in India.Speaking about the meeting, Prasad said: “We hope Alibaba will come and have a good footprint in India, including the expanding business of ecommerce (for which) they are exploring the possibility. I have said very clearly that Alibaba is quite free to come and expand its footprint in India.” Sources who were privy to the meeting said Alibaba is very keen to come to India in a very big way, particularly in the e-commerce segment.“Alibaba is very keen on coming to India in a very big way, particularly in the ecommerce sector,” senior government official said. “They’re only exploring the way – whether to go on their own or set up shop with someone else.” The Chinese company plans to enter the ecommerce business in India in 2016, PTI reported, citing Evans.“Ecommerce is a rising phenomenon in India, growing at 50% plus, with a huge catchment area, which shows the potential of a big aspirational market,” Prasad said after the meeting. “We will give them (Alibaba) full cooperation.”
“They’re most welcome to adopt the same (online and offline) strategy in India, too,” Prasad said. “They can look at setting up their own (delivery platforms) or use the time and tested postal service.”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 retailers.
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