Alibaba in JV talks with India’s Reliance Retail

August 20 , 2018

China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba is reportedly in talks with one of India’s largest retail groups to form a joint venture to challenge the dominance of Flipkart and Amazon in the world’s fastest-growing economy.

Alibaba, one of China’s two leading e-commerce companies along with JD.com, is reportedly eyeing a stake as high as 50% in Reliance Retail for US$5-6 billion, website Live Mint reported.

It is aiming to create a behemoth in the digital marketplace and also expand its physical retail businesses in India, the publication reported, citing anonymous sources.

The talks indicate that the battle for India’s booming e-commerce market may only intensify further, with two large and deep-pocketed companies planning to come together to take on the market leaders.

Alibaba’s executive chairman, Jack Ma, met Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani in July-end in Mumbai to discuss the proposal, the sources said.

The two discussed a number of issues, including a plan to create a large omnichannel retail entity through the proposed joint venture, they said.

The joint venture, if it goes through, will be the largest investment by Alibaba in an Indian company.

In May U.S.-based Walmart announced it had signed definitive agreements to acquire a majority stake in Flipkart Group, India’s largest online retailer, for around US$16 billion.

The deal, which is Walmart’s biggest ever, came days after the company agreed to sell its U.K.-based subsidiary, Asda, to rival supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s.

Separately, the world’s largest e-commerce company, Amazon, is reportedly in talks to acquiure a 42-49% stake in India’s More supermarket chain in a bid to counter Reliance and Walmart in retail.

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