Indian E-commerce Still Needs to Evolve: Alibaba Leadership


Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which clocks billions of dollars in sales every year, plans to take it slow in India for the foreseeable future. Before investing heavily, they are waiting for the country to develop a more mature marketplace.

Talking to reporters from across the globe during their annual Singles Day sale, the leadership team of Alibaba which included Joe Tsai, Alibaba Vice Chair, and CEO Daniel Zhang said that they will take a patient approach towards the India market with respect to investments and e-commerce strategy.

Interestingly, according to a report by Hindu Businessline, Alibaba has spent relatively less on its own B2B subsidiary in Mumbai, India as against the millions invested in Paytm. Referring to this conundrum, Tsai mentioned that Indian e-commerce market still has a long way to go compared to the trillion dollar Chinese market. “India is a fragmented market and states have different laws whereas in China there is more unity in e-commerce laws. There are a lot of unknown factors in India.”

He also stated that their investment into Paytm has performed well and strategic investments like Paytm is helping them understand the various aspects of the Indian consumer mindset.

The Indian e-commerce market is projected to grow to $150 billion by 2022 according to a report by industry body Nasscom and analyst agency PwC India. Meanwhile the Chinese e-commerce market, according to Forrester, will touch $1 trillion in 2018.

Zhang said that they plan to work with more partners in India in the future, and not just enter the market themselves. “We are looking at various aspects of e-commerce in India and will make inroads in the future based on such data points.”

Zhang will succeed Jack Ma in the coming months for the e-commerce company as the founder CEO of Alibaba steps away.

Header Image by World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland – Jack Ma Yun – Annual Meeting of the New Champions Tianjin 2008


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