Alibaba in talks with Snapdeal to enter India


MUMBAI: As it is ready to embark upon a new journey by launching what may be the biggest IPO ever, Chinese e-retailer Alibaba may also be making a move to tap into the growing Indian retail market through an investment in local e-retailer Snapdeal.

According to an Economic Times report, Alibaba, is in talks with online retailer Snapdeal to enter India. The e-commerce giant is in discussion for a possible investment in the Indian company, but no decision has been taken yet.

The report also quoted a source saying that the deal will be announced in a month.

The Chinese company is expected to be valued at over $165 billion at the conclusion of its initial public offer. So far, Alibaba has only been linking Indian merchants with overseas buyers and sellers.

With its entry in the Indian online retail space by aligning with Snapdeal, the Chinese e-tailer will be competing directly against market leaders like Flipkart and Amazon. Even though the Chinese company would be a late entrant, it has the advantage of size — as per sales Alibaba is bigger than Amazon and eBay combined.

While on the other hand, the Delhi-based company has already raised a total of $233 million in two rounds of investments this year. The last round in May valued the firm at $1 billion. It is expected to be worth Rs 50,000 crore by 2016, according to a market rating agency Crisil.

The company, in which Ratan Tata holds a stake, is also attracting attention from Japan's largest e-commerce company Rakuten Inc and telecommunications firm SoftBank Corp, the report added.

On contacting Snapdeal, the spokesperson said, “As a policy, we do not comment on such speculations.”

Alibaba's shares are set to debut on the US market on 19 September, in what could be the world's largest ever initial public offering. It increased the price range on its offering from $66 to $68 on 15 September, reflecting strong demand from investors for the year's most anticipated debut.

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