For Alibaba which has about 40 million users across 190 countries, India is the second most important market globally after China followed by the US and Europe. In India, the firm has about 4.5 million registered users. To further boost its presence in the country, on Monday the firm has announced the launch of an online platform SMILE (Small and Medium Industries Leveraging Export) to provide SMEs in India access to global business trading counterparts as well as will offer solutions such as financing, logistics, certifications and technology.
“India is at a stage where eCommerce is set to kick-off and we see a huge opportunity there,” said Timothy Leung, head of global business development, in context to why is it focussing so much on India.
The platform aims to help more than 10 million Indian SMEs. The Chinese firm has partnered with enterprises such as ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Crisil Rating, Tally, Capital Float, Jeena, SGS and Mypacco to help small and medium size enterprises to expand their business.
“In India, our goal is to reach out to 10 million SMEs and help them in trading on our website. We will help them in getting trained, give them the exposure they need and help them grow,” said Leung. The categories of trading would be gems and jewellery, textiles and the food & beverage sectors. The platform also aims to provide new products and services, leveraging on the capabilities of joining enterprises.
Apart from opening this platform, Alibaba and its financial arm Ant Financial have also picked up stakes in Indian eCommerce companies Paytm and Snapdeal. Alibaba has been focusing on the Indian market aggressively and now with this new initiative, it is tapping into SMEs as well.