Alibaba could soon expand its global influence by purchasing a stake in India’s One97 Communications for over $500m.
Alibaba and payment service provider unit Alipay are said to be in advanced talks to buy between 30 and 40pc of the Indian company which owns mobile payment platform Paytm.
According to Reuters sources, One97 would issue fresh shares to Alibaba and Alipay, resulting in the holdings of existing shareholders being diluted.
Alibaba, the world’s biggest e-commerce group which recorded the largest IPO on record when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year, would be making its first serious venture into India’s booming technology industry.
India has the third-largest number of internet users in the world, prompting established companies to make a play for its potentially lucrative e-commerce industry.
Amazon made a $2bn investment in its Indian arm last year in a bold bet on the country’s e-commerce potential, while Japan’s SoftBank Corp bought a $627m stake in online marketplace Snapdeal.
Paytm, which is reported to be the object of Alibaba’s desires, functions as a “mobile wallet”, allowing users to make deposits which they can spend on apps at a later date.