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Alibaba’s UCWeb to launch first wholly owned e-commerce business in India

Alibaba's UCWeb to launch first wholly owned e-commerce business in India 1

Amritsar, NFAPost: Alibaba Group is set to launch its first fully owned e-commerce business in India this year through its subsidiary UCWeb, an official from the company said.

Alibaba’s foray into the Indian e-commerce market would be by setting up a recommendation platform that would provide product listings, but would not have an entry to the payment space.

“We will integrate products from different platforms which people can browse through and share, but if people have to make an actual purchase, the engine will lead them to the actual website for the purchase to happen,” UCWeb Global Business Vice President Huaiyuan Yang told news agency Press Trust of India on Thursday.

The Chinese conglomerate plans to tie-up up with Indian e-commerce platforms, such as Flipkart and Paytm Mall for the purchase service, Yang said.

Alibaba Group has its presence in India’s B2B and B2C marketplace through Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com. Additionally the Group has a little over 30% stake in Paytm and 3% stake in Snapdeal.

The company, however, has said that its planned launch into the Indian market would not affect its portfolio in Paytm.

“E-commerce is a very vast business. There are various parts of e-commerce business and several products. UC will choose section according to our business… We will partner with the right players and we will not compete with them (Paytm),” Yang said.

The company also plans to sell movie tickets through its new wholly owned platform. This would take the platform for a direct competition with Paytm, which currently has a robust business in ticketing segment.

UCWeb in India

UCWeb has had its presence in India since 2009 through UC Browser. The company claims that its browser has half of its global installs from India, with total registered user downloads worldwide at 1.1 billion. This 1.1 billion excludes users from China.

Alibaba's UCWeb to launch first wholly owned e-commerce business in India 2

The Chinese firm aims to connect to half of the world’s population and it believes that India is a key market for UCWeb and Alibaba and around 30-40% of the country’s population is connected to internet.

“There is a lot of focus on videos now. We are trying to provide content in many local languages to the local users apart from the 15 languages we already offer,” Yang said.

UCWeb would completely comply with Indian government’s norms on data localisation and has already been storing data on Indian users in India itself, Yang said adding that the data of Indian users are transmitted outside only when they use websites that are hosted outside the country.

“We take privacy and data security very seriously and are serving users across the globe, we will follow all the government guidelines and majority of the data is already stored in India and is encrypted end to end while transmission.”

Yang also said that the company is working together with around 120,000 content creators and has 700 media organisations on its platform.

Indian E-commerce market

India is at a stage where the e-commerce sector is witnessing rapid growth aided by massive boom in internet usage as a result of affordable smartphones and low internet data tariff. These positive factors are seen taking the e-commerce marketplace to $230 billion by 2028, surpassing the offline retail growth substantially, according to a report released early this week by E-Commerce Council of India and ChannelPlay.

The report also indicates that an additional 400-500 million shoppers in India are expected to turn online in 10 years, who would join around 100 million existing online shoppers in the country.

“E-commerce in India has grown beyond the first wave of metro consumers in Tier-I cities. It is now rapidly adding millions of buyers from Tier-II, III cities and beyond,” the report said.

This new wave of e-commerce spread would most likely make the online market inclusive and see more shoppers from smaller cities grow an increased habit of shopping online.

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