Alibaba buys stake in Indian online grocer BigBasket, seeking to extend ‘new retail’ footprint

Alibaba buys undisclosed stake in India’s online grocer BigBasket, sources tell the Post

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 4:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 4:11pm

Alibaba Group Holding, China’s largest e-commerce platform that operates online marketplace Taobao and offline Hema supermarkets, is extending its “new retail” footprint to India by investing in local online grocer BigBasket, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Alibaba is among investors pumping cash into the Indian grocery site, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information is private, without identifying the investors.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval, the source said.

Vipul Parekh, a co-founder of BigBasket, did not immediately respond to an email query sent by the South China Morning Post.

The Hindu Business Line, citing unidentified industry sources, said on Thursday that Alibaba may invest as much as US$300 million in BigBasket to help it compete against rivals such as Grofers and

Alibaba, which owns the Post, said it does not comment on market speculation.

Alibaba is actively reaching out for investment opportunities outside its domestic market, in Southeast Asian countries in particular, after its US$2 billion investment in Singapore-based e-commerce company Lazada Group proved to be a success.

Alibaba invests extra US$1b in Lazada to expand in Southeast Asia

In July, the Indian government approved Amazon’s proposed US$500 million investment in retailing of food products in India. Research firm RedSeer estimates that India’s nascent online grocery market was worth US$300 million in 2016.

Bangalore-based BigBasket is India’s largest online food and grocery store with more than 18,000 products and over a 1,000 brands on offer, according to its official website. BigBasket is available in 25 cities across India, enabling consumers to shop for everyday essentials via their smartphones.

Alibaba is moving rapidly to promote its new retail initiative which aims to combine the strengths of online shopping with physical retail stores.

Last month, it agreed to pay HK$22.4 billion (US$2.87 billion) to obtain a 36.16 per cent stake in Hong Kong-listed Sun Art Retail Group, which runs one of the biggest hypermarket chains in China, from Ruentex.

The Hema supermarkets in China allow consumers to place orders and pay for groceries through a mobile app. The goods can be picked up in-store, or-delivered to the consumer’s home via a logistics centre.