Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is in talks with India's online retailer Snapdeal to enter India, The Economic Times reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.
Alibaba, whose shares are set to debut on the US market on Friday in what could be the world's largest ever initial public offering, has discussed with Snapdeal a possible investment in the Indian company, but a decision has not been reached yet.
Snapdeal, in which Ratan Tata, the former chairman of salt-to-steel Tata conglomerate, holds a stake (See: Ratan Tata invests in Snapdeal as Tata Value ties up online home sales), is also attracting attention from Japan's largest e-commerce company Rakuten Inc and telecommunications firm SoftBank Corp, the report said.
A Snapdeal spokeswoman said the company does not comment on speculation, while Alibaba was not available for immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.
Alibaba increased the price range on its IPO to $66 to $68 on Monday, reflecting strong demand from investors for the year's most anticipated debut.
So far, Alibaba has only been linking Indian merchants with overseas buyers and sellers. If it enters the Indian online retail space by aligning with Snapdeal, it will be competing directly against market leader Flipkart and US-based Amazon.
While the Chinese company would be a late entrant, it has the advantage of size - by sales Alibaba is bigger than Amazon and eBay combined - and cash (it expects raise up to $25 billion in an IPO this week) (Alibaba receives enough support for IPO within two days of roadshows).