Alibaba is further deepening its push into India by setting up offices in the Silicon Valley of the country — Bengaluru. According to the sources aware of developments, the Chinese e-commerce giant has signed an agreement with co-working community venture CoWrks to rent 30 dedicated seats or private studios. It is the second office for the company in the country, the first being in Mumbai.
The company is looking to keep the technology team close, at its headquarters in Mumbai. As per the report in ET, Alibaba has teams including admin, HR, and operations working out of the 400-seater CoWrks in RMZ Infinity in Bengaluru. These co-working offices are owned by RMZ, who is one of the largest real-estate developers in the country. The company has also set up similar workspaces in New Delhi and Mumbai, with a new one coming up in Chennai. Alibaba is said to be paying ₹20,000 per desk per month.
Both Alibaba and CoWrks have declined to comment on the expansion plan, with the former sending out the usual reply saying that it does not comment on such rumors. A spokesperson only gave the affirmation that India, which is one of the fastest growing markets, is an important avenue for the Chinese giant.
India is an important emerging market with great potential and we are absolutely committed to developing this market for the long term.
But, Sidharth Menda, CEO at CoWrks, might’ve refused to dispense any details of this deal but he did comment on the growing culture of collaborative workspaces. He mentions that corporate giants have now been rethinking their real-estate strategy to preserve some precious bucks by not setting up lavish offices. And such an environment also provides them the opportunity to interact with other like-minded individuals. Continuing to add, he says,
This is due to the opportunity to work alongside a highly engaged and entrepreneurial community, which directly improves productivity. Employees prefer to hang out in the office till much later with like-minded people.
For those unaware, Alibaba has been steadily leading its intervention into the country to take on existing players such as Amazon and homegrown Flipkart. It has not only been building its team but has also leased a massive office space in Mumbai to set up its HQ, thus, cementing its expansion plans for India.
The company has picked up a 3,000+ sq. ft. office space at Platina in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, owned by Wadhwa Group. It is located in close proximity to Amazon, who owns a similar space in the area. Alibaba is expected to pay as much as ₹275 per sq ft on a monthly basis or about ₹1 crore for the whole space, which falls in line with other rental spaces in the area.
There is also no hiding the obvious fact that Alibaba has been eagerly planning to step foot in the country by understanding the market dynamics with help from Paytm. The Chinese e-commerce giant has been directing massive investments into digital payments major Paytm and its spin-off e-commerce division, which debuted an exclusive standalone platform just recently. It recently invested a hefty $200 million into the said entity and already holds about 40 percent stake in the company, along with its affiliate Ant Financial.
For the previous year, the company had been building out its executive team and strengthening its reseller network, all while working out of the Paytm HQ. The company has on-boarded senior executives such as Flipkart’s former HR director Priya Cherian and former McKinsey exec Madhur Deep as its Senior VP. They both are currently reporting to Guru Gowrappan, Global MD at the Alibaba Group, who’s heading the India expansion. We could soon expect Alibaba to begin operations and take the fight back to existing players while eliminating the struggling ones.