Alibaba.com, the business-to-business side of The Alibaba Group has named India as its second largest market next to China.
Alibaba.com launched an online platform SMILE (Small and Medium Industries Leveraging Export) which aims to provide Indian small-to-medium enterprises access to global business trading counterparts as well as one-stop trading solutions including financing, logistics (domestic and cross-border), inspections and certifications, technology and SME-trade-linked education.
“India is at a critical point at present and from here we will see sharp upswing in ecommerce. We are very excited in building this consortium for SMEs,” Timothy Leung, head of global business development for Alibaba.com, told The Economic Times.
Alibaba.com currently has 4.5 million registered users in India, and India is the second-most important market for Alibaba.com, the company said in a press release.
The company has partnered with several companies including ICIC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Crisil Rating, Tally, Capital Float, Jeena, SGS and Mypacco in financing, credit rating, online lending, software, transportation, inspection and verification for the SMILE program. By offering combined trading solutions to Indian SMEs, they can explore global trading opportunities in a more cost-effective way.
The initiative comes in the wake of the “Make in India” program, a government initiative aimed at encouraging multinational as well as domestic companies to manufacture products in India. To support the program, Alibaba hopes to use SMILE to connect Indian manufacturers with quality Chinese suppliers on Alibaba.com, provide Indian sellers with trading support and facilitate global sales of Indian products through Alibaba.com. The program also ties into the government’s “Digital India” initiative.
“We are excited to team up with credible and capable local Indian enterprises to offer this SMILE program, helping SMEs from India expand their business footprint in an efficient way,” said Leung. “With resources from different enterprises that excel in their own fields, our B2B ecosystem can benefit more than 10 million SMEs in India. In the meantime, trading partners can build integrated services with more synergy by staying in the same consortium platform leveraging the power of data and technology.”