Alibaba looking to up Indian presence via acquisitions

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is looking to acquire Indian counterparts that have a large customer base as well as a robust network of merchants. It is also looking at firms that can help improve customer experience as well as expand its range of products and services.

"Alibaba Group's investment strategy focuses on three aspects of our business: increasing user acquisition and engagement, improving customer experience and expanding our products and services," an Alibaba spokesperson told PTI.

At present, the Alibaba Group has four offices in India. Its platform has several small businesses from here selling goods ranging from spices to chocolates to tea. Its B2B e-commerce platform provides a global market to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), she added.

"Our investment approach also involves supporting entrepreneurs in the development of innovative products and technologies," the spokesperson said.

In November 2014, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who was on his first visit to India, said that he will "invest more in India, work with Indian entrepreneurs, Indian technologists to improve the relationship of the two nations".

Ma, one of the richest persons in China with a fortune of about $24 billion, founded Alibaba in 1999 in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang province.

India with its expanding Internet users and smartphone penetration is one of the largest online retail markets in the world and is seeing growing interest from investors globally.

According to the consultancy firm PwC, the e-commerce sector in India is expected to grow by 34 per cent to $22 billion in 2015 compared to last year.