India is emerging as the battleground for global e-commerce Internet conglomerates. While Amazon’s boss Jeff Bezos had committed over $5 billion in its Indian arm, Alibaba, Tencent, and SoftBank are excited about Indian story and have been pumping big rounds to combat the US-based online behemoth.
It’s been long anticipated that India would be the place where large Internet groups from the US and China will be competing for supremacy.
Now, the battle seems to have gathered steam as Alibaba has been placing its bets on several startups ranging from verticals such as entertainment, food ordering, grocery and logistics among others.
Alibaba along its payment affiliate Alipay had invested about $425 million in e-grocer Bigbasket and foodtech major Zomato. Recently, it also invested $35 million in Pune-based logistics company Xpressbees.
The Jack Ma-led Chinese group is gearing up to deploy about $8 billion over the next four years, according to a report by FactorDaily. Citing sources, the report mentions that it would invest in areas including, payment, enterprise, and entertainment (OTT) among others.
The group eyes investment in gaming, original content, movies, and over-the-top platforms.
Notably, Alibaba is planning to launch an over-the-top (OTT) video service (less than 20 minutes) in India in collaboration with its Indian portfolio Paytm and its media and entertainment unit UCWeb.
The group will reportedly invest about $10 billion in the entertainment space over the next decade. To strengthen its play in payment and e-commerce, the group is expected to acquire its investee Paytm Mall.
It’s also slated to spend about $2 billion to invest in e-commerce, logistics, and buy Paytm’s e-commerce arm.
Besides Alibaba, Softbank had invested about $6 billion in companies competing against Amazon. It put massive $2.6 billion in Flipkart while Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led company secured over $1.4 billion from Asia’s top company.
Meanwhile, Tencent had pumped in over $1.5 billion in Indian Internet firms including Ola, Practo, Flipkart, and Hike. In contrast to the Chinese conglomerates and Japanese heavyweight SoftBank, Amazon had led investment rounds in a handful of Indian startups such as Housejoy ($22.4 Mn), Bankabazaar ($30 Mn), Shoppers stop (it picked up 5% stake for approx $27.7 Mn).
The combinations of Softbank, Alibaba and Tencent are likely to play a pivotal role in determining the future of Internet business in India.