One of our 2017 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains called for Amazon and Alibaba to continue to position for global online platform dominance, and we further predicted that both would remain cautious to perceptions of outright head-to-head competition. We concurred with Asia based business observers that one of the primary battle grounds this year will be India and Southeast Asia.  Alibaba_sized

Today, Business Standard indicates that Alibaba has taken a reported 60 percent control of India’s E-commerce platform provider Paytm. While this online platform provider has not acknowledged such an investment, Business Standard cites documents submitted to India’s registrar of companies as indicating that Alibaba will invest $177 million in Paytm, while SAIF partners will invest an additional $23 million. According to this report, the investment puts Alibaba closer to a formal entry into India’s expanding online marketplace and could cause additional competition for existing online players, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon India.

This investment comes nearly a year after Alibaba initiated a controlling stake in Lazada, an online marketplace for Southeast Asia.

The report further notes: “With Alibaba committing to India with more funds, it could be a straight war between Amazon and the Chinese company.”

Further reported was that this week, Paytm launched its Paytm Mall which features over 140,000 sellers which is a similar concept to Alibaba’s Tmall in China.

The stakes are indeed high and the investment money is obviously flowing.

Bob Ferrari

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