Alibaba keen to enter Indian e-commerce space in 2016

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is exploring the online marketplace opportunities in India and is keen to enter the country in 2016, its president Michael Evans said here on Friday.

“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,” Evans said after meeting Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“We plan to come here and work to serve both customers, consumers and of course small businesses because that is the history and the DNA of Alibaba. We are planning to enter the e-commerce business in India in 2016,” he added.

On his side, Prasad said: “We hope Alibaba will come and have a good footprint in India also including the expanding business of e-commerce, they are exploring the possibility. On my behalf I have said very clearly Alibaba is quite free to come and expand its footprint in India.”

An Alibaba affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group had signed a deal to buy a 25 percent stake in Indian mobile payments and e-commerce platform Paytm owner One97 Communications in 2015.

The same year, Alibaba has also received anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India’s approval for buying 4.14 percent stake in Snapdeal.

“I told him (Evans) about the exponential growth of e-commerce in India and what was a matter of great assurance that he said he proposes to take care of business online and also offline,” Prasad added.

India’s e-commerce market is likely to touch $38 billion-mark in 2016, a 67 percent surge over the $23 billion it clocked last year, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

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