Alibaba to increase stake in Paytm

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E-commerce firm Alibaba is rumoured to be increasing its stake in mobile wallet Paytm as the company look to strengthen its influence within the Indian e-commerce sector.

The Chinese retail giant already owns a 20 per cent stake in Paytm.

In January Payment Eye reported that $575m changed hands between Alibaba and One97 communications, the parent company of Paytm.

Alibaba are now expected to pay $600m for an additional 20 per cent stake of the company.

The previous deal allowed Indian consumers to shop on Alibaba sites and make payments through Paytm, while Chinese customers could use Alipay to buy items from merchants on the Paytm marketplace. If the latest deal is to happen, Paytm will be valued at $3.7bn.

Alibaba look to become an even larger presence within the already crowded Indian e-commerce sector. Currently the major players consist of Amazon India, Snapdeal and Flipkart, with the latter being valued at $1bn.

‘‘Paytm is expected to be Alibaba’s ecommerce play in India. The plan is to create an ecosystem through companies that have large consumer touchpoints,’’ revealed a source close to the deal in an interview with India’s Economic Times. Both Alibaba and financiers Ant Financial refuse to comment on the speculation.

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