Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba reportedly is looking to acquire a 20 per cent stake in India’s largest smartphone maker Micromax, a deal estimated to be valued at $1.2 billion.
In late April the group’s Ant Financial was reported to be close to working out a deal to buy a 25 per cent share in the handset maker for an undisclosed sum.
India is the third largest smartphone market in the world and the fastest growing in Asia Pacific last year. Micromax expanded its market share in India to 21 per cent last year from 18 per cent the previous year, while Samsung saw its share drop to 25 per cent from 36 per cent during the same period, according to Canalys.
Alibaba and Micromax started discussions after talks with investors led by Japan’s SoftBank broke down over differences in valuations. Although discussions with SoftBank haven’t officially ended, sources told Reuters, they are unlikely to resume.
Alibaba wants to expand into India and use Micromax handsets as a platform for Indian users to access Alibaba and pay using Alipay, the payment method of choice on Alibaba’s e-commerce site and China’s largest online payments system.
Led by a 350 per cent jump in mobile sales, Alibaba last week reported its Q4 revenue increased 45 per cent year-on-year to CNY17.43 billion.