Alibaba Group Holding Ltd To Set Up A Startup Incubator In India

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has teamed up with Indian mobile and analytics firm Globals to setup a startup incubator in Bengaluru. It will focus on mobile Internet and mobile commerce. The agreement comes less than two months after Alibaba acquired 25% stake in Indian mobile commerce firm Paytm for $550 million.

Alibaba to mentor five startups in the first batch

Globals founder Suhas Gopinath told the Times of India that he met Alibaba founder Jack Ma in New Delhi earlier this week, and the two companies agreed on the incubator. Gopinath said the idea for the incubator came from mobile search engine Quixey’s COO Guru Gowrappan. Alibaba is one of the largest investors in Quixey.

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Alibaba and Globals have identified a few startups to be part of the incubator. The mobile incubator will start functioning by June. It will be a one-year program, and five startups will be mentored in the first batch. The Chinese company said it will help these ventures “scale aggressively in India and across the world.” Alibaba and Globals will also provide seed funding to the selected startups.

Alibaba focusing on mobile commerce in India

It was Jack Ma’s second visit to New Delhi in four months. During his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, Ma pledged to help empower small businesses in India. The Hangzhou-based online retailer was also in talks to invest up to $1 billion in Indian online marketplace Snapdeal. But the deal failed over valuations. Snapdeal was seeking a valuation of $6-$7 billion, while Alibaba valued it in the range of $4-$5 billion.

Alibaba is focusing on mobile commerce in the Indian market as the number of mobile Internet users is growing at an exponential rate. India’s leading e-commerce company Flipkart has ditched its mobile website to concentrate on mobile apps. Flipkart is also considering to stop the desktop website of its fashion portal Myntra.

Alibaba shares fell 0.12% to $83.14 in pre-market trading Wednesday.