It’s a War Call: Alibaba Invests $177M in Paytm to Fight Amazon; Stakes up by 22%
In this proxy war between Amazon and Alibaba, it looks like Paytm might be the one walking with the largest cherry on the cake, however it might also be just one of the first pawn on the chessboard to be used!
According to latest news reports, Paytm’s existing investors Alibaba and SAIF Partners invested yet again a whopping amount of $177 million and $23 million respectively into Paytm Mall, making it a total of $200M. Recently, Paytm made the announcement of launching India’s first e-commerce marketplace by a unicorn company in India- ‘Paytm Mall App’
Recent developments in the past few months suggest that Alibaba Group, which holds 40-percent stake in Paytm, (now 62% also holds a three-percent stake in online marketplace Snapdeal. As per some sources, both Alibaba will enter the Indian e-commerce marketplace in full-swing by Diwali 2017.
Paytm Mall claims to have more than 1,40,000 sellers and 68 million SKUs. Like most horizontal marketplaces, it also sells mobiles, electronics, fashion, groceries etc. Paytm Mall will offer consumers combined features of the 'mall' and 'bazaar' concepts. It claims that only trusted sellers passing strict quality and eligibility criteria will be allowed on the 'mall'. All products listed on the mall will also go through Paytm-certified warehouse and shipping channels. Paytm, which is set to take the battle to the other e-commerce biggies, already has 17 fulfillment centres and 40 courier partners across India.
According to the statement from the company, Paytm Mall will also launch an upgraded version of the Paytm Seller app in seven regional languages. Curiously, the name 'Paytm Mall' itself is strikingly similar to 'Tmall', Alibaba’s B2C e-commerce arm, which holds more than 50 percent share of online retail in China. According to RedSeer Consulting, India’s e-commerce market will hit $100 billion by 2020. With five of its 11 unicorns now from e-commerce, the competition is bound to get fiercer every day.
Paytm Stands In Style
Paytm has now become the only company with both payments and e-commerce businesses to be valued at billion dollars as separate entities. India’s unicorn club already has Flipkart, Snapdeal, ShopClues, Paytm Payments, Ola, InMobi, Mu Sigma, Zomato, Quikr, and Hike but as of now its valuation is the highest in the club.
Paytm’s payments arm raised Rs. 400 crore from Taiwan-based investor Mediatek in August 2016, which resulted in its valuation reaching $5 billion. Paytm also has the unique advantage of being able to accessing Alibaba’s larger ecosystem – all of its acquisitions across the world, including e-commerce company Lazada Group in Southeast Asia, and Chinese-government-owned Suning Commerce – which can help Paytm expand beyond India in future.
Developments in the Background
India’s e-commerce firm Flipkart has reportedly been in talks to raise more than $1 billion, aiming to make profit. Recently, online marketplace Snapdeal had to fire half its workforce to stay in the game and aim for profitability.
Though Sachin Bansal tries to lobby against “capital dumping” and for regulations against foreign players like Amazon and Alibaba – in the battle to conquer India’s ecommerce market, will a troubled Flipkart be able to stand against Amazon and Alibaba’s war chests? In this proxy war between the two global bigwigs, it looks like Paytm might be the one walking with the largest cherry on the cake, however it might also be just one of the first pawn on the chessboard to be used!
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