Alibaba Seeking JV Opportunity with Big Indian Conglomerates

Alibaba Seeking JV Opportunity with Big Indian Conglomerates

Mumbai: In order to enhance its omnichannel retailing plans in India, Alibaba is in discussions with big India conglomerates regarding joint venture. As per the information available, recently, the senior executives from the Chinese internet and e-commerce giant have held discussions with Reliance Industries, Tata Group and Future Retail.

Notably, discussions of Alibaba with Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is new whereas earlier it had already initiated discussions with Noel Tata, Chairman of Trent and Cyrus Mistry, the former Chairman of Tata Group.

It should be noted that RIL, Tata and Kishore Biyani’s Future Retail – all three of them have a considerable retailing footprint which could strengthen the omnichannel blueprint of Alibaba in India. Omni-channel or multi-channel retailing enables the shoppers with reliable and flawless buying experience across online and offline stores. This approach has been made popular by Alibaba as ‘online-to-offline’ (O2O) model in China. This approach was used to onboard offline users which don’t prefer online platforms for buying or purchasing.


A person aware of the development said that out of all some discussions are uncertain and might not even progress. It is being said that the discussion is about a possible joint venture or a wider symbiotic coalition where Alibaba takes up the stake in the retail entities of any of these Indian conglomerates.

It should be noted that a few days ago, Biyani said that in the next couple of days he could close a deal with a foreign investor without disclosing the name of the potential foreign investor. As per the reports, Amazon was in talks with Biyani to acquire stake in Future Retail.

Apart from this, another person aware of the development said that the Chinese e-commerce giant has prepared a list of potential partners which includes other Indian conglomerates apart from the above mentioned three giants.

As per the conjectures, Alibaba with Goldman Sachs might become part of a consortium which is being put together by Samara Capital to acquire More supermarkets from the Aditya Birla Group.

Alibaba is speeding up plans in India after Walmart acquired Flipkart for $16 billion and Amazon invested $5-billion in India.

Notably, Alibaba holds stake in Paytm Mall, BigBasket, Zomato and TicketNew. Despite backing up from Alibaba and SoftBank, Paytm Mall clocks about one lakh daily shipments which is much less than Amazon and Flipkart. It was through Paytm Mall only that Alibaba pushed the company to approach the market with the O2O model.

In the financial year 2017-18, the Chinese e-commerce and internet giant recorded the profits of $10 billion on revenues of nearly $40 billion.

Notably, RIL is already running Reliance Retail which is planning to come up with its own omnichannel strategy in lineup with Reliance Jio. There is still no clarity if RIL would like to induct a foreign partner right now though Alibaba is impressed with the ambitious plans of RIL.

Similarly, Tata is also not sure that it will join hands with a foreign partner in its retail business. As of now, N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Group is concentrating on escalating and consolidating the physical and digital retail platforms. The retail businesses of Tata Group include Titan, Trent (Star Bazaar), Infinity Retail (Croma) and Tata Unistore (CLiQ).