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China's Alibaba expects India joint venture this year

Owen Fletcher | Sept. 14, 2009
The move would mark Alibaba.com's latest effort to expand outside China

HANGZHOU, CHINA, 11 SEPTEMBER 2009 - Top Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba.com aims to announce an Indian joint venture this year as the company expands its global footprint, it said Friday.

Alibaba.com is in talks with an Indian reseller about forming a joint venture, CEO David Wei told reporters at a briefing. A deal in India, where Alibaba.com recently surpassed 1 million registered members, would be the latest in the site's efforts to grow abroad.

"I've got a lot of confidence in India," said Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba Group, the parent company of Alibaba.com.

Alibaba.com is a platform for small and medium businesses to trade everything from lumber and clothes to iPods and PC components. Its main member base is in China, but the site also has 9.5 million registered users in other countries and facilitates many cross-border trades.

Alibaba.com already works with Indian publishing company Infomedia 18, its likely joint venture partner, to promote its platform in the country. The site also has a joint venture in Japan and recently launched a major U.S. advertising campaign to attract more users there. Ma and other top Alibaba executives visited the U.S. early this year for meetings with potential partners including Amazon.com, eBay and Google.

Ma said Alibaba knows it needs to "do something" in Latin America as well. When asked if the company would also seek to expand in Eastern Europe, Ma said, "I will be there."

Alibaba will not hold a majority stake in joint ventures it forms, instead taking a share similar to the 35 percent it has in its Japan operation.

"Our global strategy means partner with local people," Ma said. "We want partners and we want partners to control their business."

Users place total orders of more than US$200 million each day on the Alibaba.com international platform, Wei said. About 50 percent of those orders go to Chinese exporters, he said.

 

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