Fight For India: Alibaba Goes Paytm, Snapdeal Cuts Costs, Flipkart Cuts Merchant Fees

snapdeal 2017.png

The biggest news from India over the last couple of days has been Paytm getting $200 million from Alibaba and SAIF Partners.

Reuters:

Alibaba.com Singapore E-Commerce Pvt Ltd picked up a 36.31 percent stake in Paytm E-Commerce for investing $177 million, according to a regulatory filing by the Indian company that runs an online marketplace.

Alibaba and its associates are also the largest shareholders in One97 Communications, which has a stake in Paytm E-Commerce.

Alibaba bought that stake of One97 for $42 million.

Tech in Asia about the recent Paytm split:

Paytm recently split into two – Paytm Ecommerce Pvt. Ltd. and Paytm Payments Bank. Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma sold 1 percent of his personal stake in One97 to invest US$48 million in the freshly minted Paytm Payments Bank, which includes its digital wallet. The payments bank is a new entity in India which can hold deposits for payments but cannot give out loans – it solves the problem of low capacity of wallets which forces frequent top-ups.

Samsung Pay went live in India a couple days ago with support for Paytm wallets.

Your Story on the split and the new Paytm Mall, which sounds kind of similar to Alibaba Tmall:

Paytm Mall will offer consumers combined features of the mall and bazaar concepts. According to a press release, only trusted sellers passing strict quality and eligibility criteria will be allowed on the ‘mall’. All products listed on the mall will also go through Paytm-certified warehouse and shipping channels. […]

Paytm, which is set to take the battle to the other e-commerce biggies, already has 17 fulfilment centres and 40 courier partners across India.

Livemint:

The $200 million investment is expected to pave the way for the much-awaited entry of Alibaba into India, where the Chinese firm will go head-to-head with Amazon India and Flipkart.

Alibaba also has a stake in Snapdeal, run by Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd.

A curious route Alibaba has chosen here.

Venturebeat/Reuters on the implications:

Global tech giants are heading for a proxy war in India. Alibaba is leading a $200 million investment into Paytm’s marketplace, creating a new Indian unicorn. It confirms the intention of the Chinese behemoth to take on Amazon, which is aggressively ramping up, investing $5 billion into its local operation as other homegrown rivals flail. Only one of the tech big boys will emerge victorious. […]

The $255 billion Chinese group and Paytm have already invested together to build a dominant mobile-wallet payment business, now worth around $5 billion. Their smaller e-commerce unit is now being separated out to meet Indian regulations. After the latest fundraising, Jack Ma’s Alibaba and its own payments affiliate Ant Financial will effectively control the e-commerce company and continue to own a large stake in the payments arm, which must be majority Indian-owned.

We talked last year about the cold war between Alibaba and Amazon going hot in India.

Cost cuttings and layoffs at Snapdeal continue as the company remains steady on its (in my eyes, probably mistaken) road to IPOability.

CNN:

Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, the founders of e-commerce giant Snapdeal, told employees that they would take a 100% pay cut as they lay off hundreds of workers in a bid to make a profit, a source at the company said. 

The source confirmed the contents of a letter from Bahl and Bansal to staff that was published by Indian media. In the letter, the executives said Snapdeal, which is valued at $7 billion,**** had tried to grow too fast and made mistakes in the process.

Snapdeal is laying off 500 to 600 people.

In contrast to Snapdeal, Flipkart has lowered its merchant fees to attract more activities. Economic Times:

Flipkart has reduced its marketplace fees and certain other charges it collects from sellers hoping to revive sales volumes in a market where growth has nearly flattened in recent months.

The company signalled that the reduced fees for doing business on India’s largest online marketplace could translate into lower prices for consumers. Flipkart has lowered collection charges for cash-on-delivery (CoD) orders by at least 40%, depending on the product category and seller’s rating, marketplace head Anil Goteti told ET.

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