Alibaba poised to make $575m investment in India’s Paytm

Alibaba is in advanced talks to make a $575 million investment in the parent company of Indian mobile payment platform Paytm.

The investment will be the Chinese company’s first major foray into India’s fast-growing e-commerce industry, WSJ reports, and is expected to close later this month. Both Alibaba Holding’s e-commerce arms and its payments affiliate Alipay will take part in the transaction, which will see the group take a stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

The deal will allow Indian consumers to shop on Alibaba sites and make payments through Paytm, while Chinese customers can use Alipay to buy items from merchants on the Paytm marketplace. Sellers on either marketplace would also be able to list their wares on the other.

So far, Indian consumers have only been able to purchase items from an Alibaba sire via its international online marketplace AliExpress with a global credit card. Indian merchants have only been able to sell items on business marketplace

Paytm, India’s largest mobile wallet service which counts Uber, Expedia and Airbnb among its customers, will use the funds to expand Paytm’s marketplace and develop its payment technologies through access to Alipay’s own payment technologies including its payment gateway, mobile-wallet system and anti-fraud measures.

Thanks to the growth in online shopping and smartphone use in India, the country’s internet market is expected to hit annual sales of $30 billion by 2020, analysts say.

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