Alibaba plans to launch e-commerce biz in India through UCWeb: Report

People walk at the headquarters of Alibaba in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 23, 2014. REUTERS/CHANCE CHAN/FILES

China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has set its eyes on the Indian e-commerce market, and plans to launch a fully-owned business in the country through its subsidiary UCWeb.

Quoting a senior company official, a PTI report said that the new business plan is not going to be conflicting with Paytm, in which it owns a 30.15 per cent stake. Paytm operates e-commerce business under Paytm Mall. Alibaba also owns a 3 per cent stake in another Indian e-commerce player, Snapdeal.

Both these bets in India, however, have been disappointing for Alibaba so far.

Paytm has far lagged behind the fast-growing Indian e-commerce market, which is dominated by Amazon and Walmart-led Flipkart. Meanwhile, Snapdeal, which was on the verge of getting sold a few years ago, is also revamping its India strategy.

“We have Alibaba’s e-commerce gene in us. We are actually trying to start an innovative business model related to e-commerce. We are going to launch a new e-commerce product in India this year,” the report quoted UCWeb Global Business Vice President Huaiyuan Yang.

For now, UCWeb plans to start selling movie tickets online, he added.

UCWeb’s UC Browser has been available in India since 2009. It claims to have registered 1.1 billion user downloads worldwide (excluding China) with half of its global installs from India. It also claims to have 130 million monthly active users in the country.

According to a recent Mint report, the Chinese ecommerce giant has also put a pause on fresh investments in India for now and is reevaluating its growth strategy.

Some of its past other big bets in India include food ordering and delivery startup Zomato, online grocer BigBasket, and logistics firm Xpressbees.