August 29, 2018 / 7:31 PM / in 3 months

India's Paytm Mall looks to deepen partnerships in fight with Flipkart, Amazon

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Paytm Mall, the e-commerce venture backed by China’s Alibaba Group, is looking to deepen ties with regional retailers as well as partner with top online grocer BigBasket to compete with Walmart-controlled Flipkart and Amazon’s local unit, a company executive said.

The headquarters for Paytm, India's leading digital payments firm, is pictured in Noida, India, August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Sankalp Phartiyal

Patym Mall, owned by Paytm E-Commerce, is currently the third biggest player in India’s rapidly-growing online retail space. The company already has a revenue sharing partnership with Future Retail, which owns hypermarket stores like Big Bazaar and fashion shops.

It is now set to forge a partnership with BigBasket, also backed by Alibaba, Amit Sinha, the chief operating officer of the online marketplace, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

“We are in the process of integrating BigBasket on our app, Sinha said. “When we talk about partnerships there will be brand partnerships, there will be retail partnerships - and not only with pan-India retail chains like Big Bazaar but also with regional, local city-based brands,” Sinha said.

Paytm Mall is also open to buying a stake in another retailer or selling a stake in Paytm Mall if a “strategic alignment” was needed, he said, but declined to comment on media reports that said the company was looking to buy a minority stake in Future Retail.

The firm considers itself as a strong contender in India’s e-commerce sector, which is tipped to grow to $200 billion in a decade and has attracted global investors such as China’s Alibaba and Tencent, U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global and Japan’s SoftBank.

“At least there are three players who are definitely, very clearly there (in the long run) - Amazon, Flipkart and us,” Sinha said.

Alibaba is unlikely to use Paytm Mall to enter India by themselves and run the company, Sinha said.

“The approach from their side has always been that you know the business, you run it. We come in as strategic investors.”

Paytm E-Commerce, which has raised about $650 million and is valued at roughly $2 billion, is not actively looking for new money.

“When you have rich parents then money is not a problem, and money is not an answer to problems,” Sinha said.

Alibaba Group is Paytm E-Commerce’s biggest investor. SoftBank, Saif Partners and Paytm founder and chief Vijay Shekhar Sharma are other investors.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal. Editing by Jane Merriman

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