Alibaba enters 'strategic' agreement with India's Paytm

China's Alibaba Group has entered into an agreement with the parent company of India's payments platform, Paytm, in a bid to boost its footprint into the subcontinent.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Alibaba Group and its related company Ant Financial Services Group, has entered into an agreement with One97 Communications, the parent company of India's largest mobile payment and commerce platform Paytm.

Under the agreement, the Chinese conglomerate will make a strategic investment in Paytm, leading on from one made in February by Ant Financial.

An undisclosed amount will be sunk into the scaling and development of Paytm's mobile commerce and payment ecosystem in India, as well as investing in marketing, technology, and talent, the company said.

"Paytm is building India's most dominant mobile payment and commerce ecosystem," Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said.

"With the Alibaba and Ant Financial partnerships, we look to bring half a billion Indians to the mainstream economy and help millions of small businesses leverage this large m-commerce opportunity."

Alibaba said its investment in Paytm will enhance its ability to tap opportunities in India's fast-growing mobile e-commerce marketplace and digital finance industry.

"India is an important emerging market with strong e-commerce potential, and we look forward to partnering with Paytm to deliver innovative products and services to consumers," Daniel Zhang Alibaba Group CEO said.

"Supporting the success of local homegrown entrepreneurial companies has long been an important part of Alibaba Group's globalisation strategy.

"This investment will further expand Alibaba Group's global footprint to India's thriving mobile commerce market."

This agreement is not the first household name Paytm has partnered with, previously linking up with controversial ridesharing service, Uber, to provide a mobile wallet platform. Paytm's mobile wallet offerings are also used by local rivals Meru and Ola Cabs.

Alibaba group has not been light on investments this year, with the conglomerate recently sinking $4.63 billion into Chinese retail chain, Suning for a 19.99 percent stake, in an effort to extend its retail presence. In return, Suning claimed a 1.1 percent stake in the company, for a cost of $2.2 billion.

In 2014, Alibaba invested $248.88 million for a 10.35 percent stake in Singapore's telecommunications and postal service, SingPost, and in August, the e-commerce giant increased its stake to 66 percent following a $206.45 million investment.

Alibaba also pumped $600 million into Travice Inc, the Chinese operator of taxi app Kuaidi Dache in January this year, and only days later, the e-commerce giant snapped up an undisclosed stake in AdChina, an online marketing firm, in order to boost its advertising portfolio.

Bolstering its mobile hardware presence, Alibaba then took a $590 million minority stake in home-grown smartphone manufacturer, Meizu.

In June, Alibaba invested $194 million for an undisclosed stake in China Business News, a local financial media firm that produces both TV programs and newspapers; and also sank $118 million into Softbank Robotics Holdings, preparing for what Alibaba's executive chairman Jack Ma has labelled the "Fourth Industrial Revolution".

In its fiscal first quarter results, Alibaba reported $1.7 billion in earnings, $3.3 billion in revenue, and boasted $109 billion in product sales transacted via its online marketplace.

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