Update: Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) reached out to BGR India to clarify its stance in response to the report. The company stated that there had been no discussions about the partnership and there was no meeting between Jack Ma and Mukesh Ambani.
Original Story: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has started a dialogue with Reliance Retail to team up in the Indian retail segment. According to Livemint, the company is planning to create “a mega Indian retail joint venture” with “at least $5 billion” investment to mount a challenge to existing players including Flipkart, and Amazon India.
The report stated that Alibaba offered to acquire a significant portion of Reliance Retail to create an entity in the digital market. The details reveal an interesting, yet expected, insight on Alibaba’s plans to expand the presence of its retail business in India.
The report indicated that the e-commerce battle will only get intense in the Indian market as Walmart, Flipkart, Amazon India, Reliance Retail, and Alibaba will compete against each other. Executive Chairman of Alibaba, Jack Ma also met Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited “in July-end” to discuss the proposal. Both discussed the possibility to make “a large omnichannel retail entity” with the help of this joint venture. The report went on to state that Alibaba was planning to take up to 50 percent stake in Reliance Retail, and Goldman Sachs is advising the company on the proposal.
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Reliance Retail, Alibaba, and Goldman Sachs have not issued any statement about any potential plans for the joint venture. If this deal about the joint venture goes through then it will be “the largest investment by Alibaba in an Indian company”.
The report further pointed out that Tmall and Taobao are two of the largest and most popular retail marketplaces across the globe. Both achieved $478.6 billion as total transaction volume in 2016 with plans to cross $900 billion by 2020. Alibaba will also invest 100 billion yuan in about five years to form a global logistics network.