Update: UCWeb has denied the report of Paytm in talks to acquire its India business. The firm has released an official statement regarding the matter.
*Media reports have stated that Paytm is in discussion with UCWeb for an acquisition of UCWeb’s India business, which is untrue.
As an important part of Alibaba global economy, UCWeb is committed to our globalization strategy and India is our biggest and most important growth market. We have been present in India for 7 years with 130 million monthly active users and have a long-term commitment to the country.
UCWeb will continue to actively co-operate with partners bringing better service and content to Indian users.*
Earlier report: Paytm may acquire Alibaba-owned UCWeb’s India business for $500 Mn
To bring a new set of internet users on its platform Paytm may acquire Alibaba-owned mobile browser UCWeb’s India business. The buyout deal could be in the range of $400-500 million.
According to an ET report, Paytm, CFO Madhur Deora is leading the discussions and both companies have been evaluating the deal over the past few weeks.
If the talks go through it would be the second deal for Paytm buying Alibaba-owned entity this year. The former had acquired TicketNew, a Chennai-based online movie ticketing platform for $40 million from the Jack Ma-led company.
Currently, Paytm claims to have 95 million monthly active users. The Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led company has been growing by 5 percent to 6 percent month-on-month and aims to reach 500 million users by 2022.
The deal makes sense for Paytm as UCWeb’s browser will help to market its products and reach out to new customers, especially first-generation internet users. And the UC browser has a stronghold in tier-II, tier III and rural markets.
With over 130 million monthly active users in India, UCWeb offers products and services such as mobile browser, Internet search, and news content in India.
Its flagship product UC Browser (which is available in Hindi, English and Indonesian and compatible with Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Symbian, Win CE, Java, MTK, and Blackberry) has over 50 per cent market share in India and Indonesia, which is far ahead of other browsers like Google Chrome and Opera.
Last year, Alibaba had roped in Damon Xi as the head of UCWeb for India and Indonesia. He handles the UCWeb ecosystem along with content cooperation within India and Indonesian markets.
During a recent interview, UCWeb President, Shunyan Zhu had revealed that more than 80 per cent of its employees are Indians. As far as data localisation is concern, the company obeys Indian laws and has already set up localised data centres across multiple cities in the country.