The Chinese eCommerce giant — Alibaba, which is planning to enter the Indian eCommerce market next year, is reportedly eyeing to acquire According to a report from The Times of India, Alibaba might be looking to merge PayTM with ShopClues. Riding on the two, this could just be the best of the options for Alibaba, to enter India with a bang.

Alibaba holds a significant amount of stake in mobile commerce platform PayTM. The report suggests that after acquiring ShopClues, the Chinese eCommerce behemoth is planning to merge PayTM with it. The company has already started the process to separate PayTM’s core payment business and the smaller commerce business into two separate entities.

Sources aware of the development say that former Zynga and Yahoo executive K Guru Gowrappan, who has been handling Alibaba’s growth in Asian markets, is driving the M&A talks with the senior management of ShopClues.

In an email response to ToI, Alibaba’s spokesperson said:

As a company policy, we do not in principle comment on rumours about our business plans in the media. India is an important emerging market with great potential and we are absolutely committed to developing this market for the long term. We see the market as a natural progression of our strategy to expand Alibaba’s global footprint, and believe that it offers tremendous opportunities for the expansion of our ecosystem for doing commerce globally.

Alibaba is currently looking to acquire several startups relevant to its business. It seems that Alibaba’s strategy is to create a strong entity which can compete against the likes of Amazon India from the very beginning.

Along with PayTM, the Jack Ma-led company also holds significant amount of stake in Snapdeal. It also tried to acquire stake in Flipkart but nothing fruitful has come out yet due to valuation conflicts between both entities.

ShopClues was founded in 2011 by Sandeep AggarwalSandeep AggarwalSanjay Sethi, and Radhika Aggarwal. In January this year, the company raised around $100 million in Series E round and thus entered the “unicorn” club. Last month, it acquired mobile payments startup Momoe to strengthen digital payments on its portal.

Till now, ShopClues has raised more than $131.25 million in 7 funding rounds from Tiger Global Management, Helion Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners and others.

Along with this news about Alibaba’s interest in acquiring ShopClues, several reports also suggests that Flipkart is also interested in acquiring ShopClues as Tiger Global Management is a largest common investor in both companies.

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