Many Indians would be familiar with the UC Browser with the company claiming there may be over half a billion downloads in the country of the browser.  

Alibabas UCWeb plans e-commerce foray into India this fiscal
Atom E-commerce Saturday, September 07, 2019 - 13:07
Written by  S. Mahadevan

UCWeb, a subsidiary of Chinese giant Alibaba is expected to launch a full-fledged e-commerce venture in India soon, it has been revealed by the company to Indian news agency PTI. If this happens, then this will be the fourth dimension to the Indian e-commerce scene where the two existing players Amazon and Flipkart (owned by Walmart) are going to be challenged by the Reliance group.

Though the Indian retail market is very huge, the buying habits of most Indians have meant that online retailing has not crossed the 10% threshold. The important question on everyone’s mind will be whether the entry of more players in the business helps expand the proportion of online retail in the overall basket or will there be four unhappy players in place of two happy ones. The latter will be the case if the current pie is to be shared between all four.

In the case of Alibaba, there’s the added issue of it having invested heavily into an Indian e-commerce entity Paytm, holding just over 30% stake. Alibaba’s executives say they won’t compete directly with Paytm when they launch the UCWeb e-commerce portal here. It is possible they may have a mutual arrangement where certain categories could become exclusive on either site. Alibaba Group owns a small 3 per cent stake in Snapdeal too.

Many Indians would be familiar with the UC Browser with the company claiming there may be over half a billion downloads in the country of the browser.  

Another interesting facet of the Indian e-commerce story so far is that some categories have done remarkably well. These include electronics, mostly mobile phones and fashion. Fashion itself is a vast category with clothes and footwear and so on and for men, women and children. With Alibaba making an entry through the UCWeb foray, will more categories receive attention from the online buyers?

UCWeb also has plans to start the sale of movie tickets online, it is learnt.

However, UCWeb said in a statement that it isnt looking to compete with the existing e-commerce players.

"The new service is in fact a business initiative undertaken by UC Web. Rather than competing with other e-commerce players, the new initiative would adopt a content platform model for promoting and supporting e-commerce players in India. Leveraging our extensive user communities in India, the new service is in line with our strategy to enrich the experience for users and clients alike," a company spokesperson said. 

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