Alibaba Says India Most Important Market Outside China; Launches SMILE Program To Tap 10 Million Indian SMEs



Alibaba has launched yet another specialized program for Indian SMEs, as part of their massive outreach campaign for Indian SMEs. Termed as SMILE (Small and Medium Industries Leveraging Export), this new program will help all Indian SMEs to sell their products outside India.

Alibaba will provide SMEs a direct access to world class trading partners, along with assisting them in logistics, shipping, financing, certifications, technology and even SME related education.

Leading financial & infrastructural institutions such as have already joined Alibaba’s SMILE program for offering their specialized services in different domains. Hence, SMEs who join SMILE can get financing from ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra banks; software from Tally; assistance regarding credit ratings from CRISIL; online lending from Capital Float; inspection and verification from SGS and specialized international transportation and online logistics help from Jeena and Mypacco.

And the aim is to lure 10 million (1 crore) Indian SMEs through this array of services and incentives.

Alibaba.Com Global Business Development Timothy Leung said, “By offering combined trading solutions to Indian SMEs, SMILE hopes to make cross-border trading easier, helping over 10 million SME s in India explore global trading opportunities in a more cost-effective way,”

After China, India Is Most Important Market For Alibaba

Alibaba has admitted that India is their most important market after China. There are around 40 million users who are use Alibaba for either buying or selling products, and out of that, 4.5 million users are in India.

Hence, they want to double their Indian presence by offering comprehensive assistance program like SMILE and others.

Timothy shared, “India is a very important market for us. It is the second largest for us after China. SMEs are an important contributor to any economy and the same is the case with India… In the next few years, we hope to have 10 million businesses from India on our platform,”

After Alibaba invested $575 million in Paytm early this year, their interest and inclination in Indian SME sector has actually skyrocketed.

First they partnered with financial institutions such as ICICI Bank to provide easy financing; then teamed up MyPacco for proving one-stop solutions to their shipping and logistics issues.

Alibaba has already signed MoU with CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) to connect Indian and Chinese vendors and to facilitate greater bonding among them. To tap new ideas among startups, a specialized mobile startup incubator has also been launched by Alibaba in India.

In May this year, we reported Paytm will list 1 lakh vendors from Alibaba’s AliExpress portal, and introduce cheap Chinese products starting from Rs 3. Besides, Paytm and Alibaba has already shared their massive Rs 5000 crore plan to include 50 crore Indian SMEs and traders into their platform.

Although concerns about fake products is legitimate (Alibaba sold $45 billion of fake products in 2014), but their foray into the Indian business sector and ecommerce sector is certainly interesting to say the least. They are directly competing against Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal on some levels, and the competition from Chinese businessmen always brings out the best among all.

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