Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has approached Tata Sons for a possible partnership as it looks to set up shop in India later this year in a development that looks set to shake up the country’s rapidly growing online retail market. Alibaba Group president Michael Evans and global managing director K Guru Gowrappan met Tata Group’s Chairman Cyrus Mistry recently to discuss a partnership possibility.
“It will take two quarters for Alibaba to finalise a joint venture partner. It may or may not go with the Tata Group in the end but they are definitely talking,” said a person with knowledge of the meeting. “They would have discussed initial deal contours beyond online retail.” The discussion would have also covered areas such as logistics, offline stores and omni-channel to support Alibaba’s core ecommerce business, the person said. Alibaba could have approached others, including another ecommerce company. “India is set for a big consolidation in ecommerce,” said the person. An Alibaba spokesperson said it does not comment on speculation as a matter of policy.