The great Indian consumer market, be it of any sort, is on rampage as within six months of Flipkart acquisition by Walmart, its now China’s Alibaba Group Holding who is reportedly in talks with Reliance Retail to enter in a joint venture (JV) worth massive US$5-6 billion.
According to a report by LiveMint, Alibaba’s chairman Jack Ma held talks with Reliance Industries’ chairman Mukesh Ambani, who is also an India’s richest man, in July-end in Mumbai and discussed about plan to create a large omnichannel i.e. both online as well offline, retail entity through the proposed JV, the report said.
Alibaba has moved a proposal according to which its willing to pick up a significant stake in Reliance Retail — preferably 50% — which will require Alibaba to invest $5-6 billion and it could also result in a strategic JV between Alibaba and Reliance Retail, with a smaller stake held by Alibaba, the report added.
If this massive deal goes through, it will be the largest investment by Alibaba in an Indian company.
In India, Alibaba Holding Group and its affiliates has picked up the stake in number of Indian companies including Paytm, Bigbasket and Zomato, among others.
Citing a person privy to this development, the report added that Alibaba had picked up the stake in Paytm with the objective of benefiting from Paytm’s successful e-commerce and digital wallet business in India. Reliance Retail is planning a similar model like Paytm, and once that happens, Alibaba will benefit the same way it was gaining from its association with Paytm.
Notably, Taobao and its spun off Tmall are two of the world’s largest and most popular online retail marketplaces operating in china and owned by Alibaba group, and both these e-commerce entities have together achieved a total transaction volume of $478.6 billion in fiscal 2016, and hope to double the figure to over $900 billion by 2020. As of February 2018, Taobao had at least 580 million monthly active users, while Tmall had 500 million.
With over 1 billion product listings as of 2016, the combined transaction volume of Taobao a C2C Marketplace, and Tmall.com, a B2C online marketplace, reached 3 trillion yuan in 2017, which is more than that of all US retailers and e-commerce sites combined together.
The JV between Alibaba and Reliance is also being seen as a strategic move to challenge the likes of Flipkart and Amazon who have been making significant inroads in the Indian e-commerce industry. Just few days back, Amazon has completed its five years in India and invested fresh ₹2,700 crore in its India operations.
In February this year, Alibaba has already invested whopping $500 million in India’s Bigbasket and Zomato. Last month, the Chinese firm also picked up a $35 million stake in logistics startup Xpressbees, spun out of baby products retailer FirstCry.
About Reliance, its another subsidiary, Reliance Jio, is also planning to make entry into India’s online grocery market by linking manufacturers, kirana stores and corner shops to his Reliance Jio customers and mint money.
It may also be recalled that in last November, Adani Wilmar, the company that markets ‘Fortune’ brand of food products in India, also announced its plans to enter the online grocery sales business with a new e-commerce portal and app called ‘Fortune Online’.