Alibaba to increase investment in India: Jack Ma

Jack Ma, founder of world’s largest e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd who was in a short India visit as part of a Chinese business delegation, said on Wednesday that Alibaba plans to invest more in the Indian e-commerce ecosystem and work with Indian entrepreneurs.

"At Alibaba we have more than 400,000 Chinese consumers buying things from India and they mainly buy Indian spices, chocolates, and tea. I never knew that so many Chinese people love to buy Indian chocolate. But I think India has more great products that you can sell through our platform to China,” Ma said.

He said that Alibaba is targeting to increase the number of Indian sellers on its platform.

Alibaba, which draws its strength from its B2B as well as B2C e-com properties in China, has a small presence in India through its Indian channel of its B2B property in the mother brand. The Indian site, however, is a bit player in the fast growing marketplace now dominated by B2C ventures Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon.

India is one of the nine countries where Alibaba's B2B marketplace is present. Besides China and India is it also present in the US, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Its B2C ventures Taobao among others are presently only in home country China.

Ma is in India as part of a 99-member business delegation from his home town of Zejiang. He arrived in India last night and is reportedly scheduled to meet home grown e-commerce firm Snapdeal's co-founder Kunal Bahl.

There have been reports of Alibaba considering an investment in Snapdeal. Indeed the two firms already counts Japan's SoftBank as a common and single largest investor.

According to people privy to his visit details, he has also met a few other Indian entrepreneurs. However, the names of these entrepreneurs could not be ascertained.

"I wish that the two nations (India and China) work together and I myself commit that we will invest more in India, will work with the Indian entrepreneurs, with Indian technologies to improve the relationship of the two nations and to improve the great lives of the human beings," Ma said while addressing a session of India-China (Zhejiang) Business Cooperation Conference organised by industry body FICCI.

Alibaba completed the biggest IPO in the history of global capital market by scooping around $25 billion on NYSE a few weeks ago. The issue also made Ma the richest man in China.

The successful IPO and the strong demand for its shares has catapulted its market cap ahead of not just Amazon, but also Walmart, the world's largest physical retailer.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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