Alibaba considers acquiring Rocket Internet’s Pakistan unit Daraz

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is mulling over acquiring Rocket Internet’s online retail unit in Pakistan, a source close to the development said.

Bloomberg citing the source reported that the purpose of acquiring Rocket Internet’s online retail unit is to help China’s biggest e-commerce company expand its reach in Pakistan.

The source who requested not to be named said the company is negotiating a price for Rocket’s retail unit Daraz.

According to the person, the deliberations are an early state and no decisions have been made, the Bloomberg reported.

The spokesman for Alibaba declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Daraz didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The development came a week after Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, agreed to acquire 45 percent stake worth around Rs20 billion in a subsidiary of Norwegian Telenor to broaden access to financial services through digital payment solutions in Pakistan.

“Telenor Group has reached a strategic partnership agreement with Ant Financial Services Group in Pakistan, where Ant Financial will invest $184.5m for a 45 percent stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), a subsidiary of Telenor Group, to further develop TMB’s mobile payment and digital financial services,” a statement said.

“The strategic partnership… combines TMB’s knowledge and local market presence with more than 20 million customers, and Ant’s technology in Alipay, the world’s largest digital payment platform, and other financial services, to bring mobile payment and inclusive financial services to individuals as well as small and micro businesses in Pakistan.”

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Ecommerce players are also seeing the entry of a global leading online and mobile payment platform as a good omen for the market where 90 percent of online orders of Rs9.8 billion were still fulfilled using cash-on-delivery (COD) in the past fiscal year.

“It is a fantastic input,” Adam Dawood, head of online shopping site Yayvo.com, a part of Karachi-based courier service firm TCS said, referring to Alipay’s entry.

“It shows strength of market opportunities and that Pakistan is moving towards cashless economy,” said Dawood whose Yayvo boasts of 150,000 listings, while 40 percent of its orders are pre-payment.

Daraz in a statement last month said Pakistan has 30 million active Internet users, and brands are redoubling their attention to e-commerce.

(Source: The News)

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