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Being e-commerce portal, not app, helps Chinese tech giant Alibaba evade India’s digital strike

Alibaba’s B2B platform, alibaba.com, which started its operations in India in 2008, has millions of registered buyers and sellers across the country

Published: 30th June 2020 05:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2020 05:30 PM   |  A+A-

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. (File photo | Reuters)

Express News Service

E-commerce portals like Chinese tech giant Alibaba have escaped India's digital strike against 59 apps amid heightened tensions on the Ladakh border.

However, the Alibaba-backed e-commerce app UCWeb has been included in the list of banned Chinese apps in India.

Alibaba’s B2B platform, alibaba.com, which started its operations in India in 2008, has millions of registered buyers and sellers across the country. According to the company's analyses, India ranks second in the top-20 buyer distribution list and first in the top-10 global seller distribution.

ALSO READ: Government bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, UC Browser as India-China border tensions intensify

Currently, Alibaba.com operates with a global network of 150 million registered users, connecting Indian SMEs with buyers across the world. The top three categories of trade business in India via Alibaba.com include Gems and Jewellery, Textiles and Apparel, Beauty and Personal Care.

“Our key focus is to introduce Indian merchants to the world. We are bringing products from Indian SMEs  on our platform to consumers not only in India but in China and then SE Asia....We want to give access to some of the best and unique product and content to users globally,” the tech behemoth said in a statement.

Alibaba’s another e-commerce portal, AliExpress.com has not been included in the list of banned apps even as the platform was earlier accused of evading custom duties by labeling the products shipped to India as gifts and declaring their prices way below than the average rate.

Earlier, genuine gifts when imported to India within the price range of Rs 5,000 are exempted from taxes/ duties. However, last year, the government put prohibitions on the custom-free import of gifts, including those ordered from e-commerce portals based out of the country.

Interestingly, the other popular e-commerce portals, Shein and Club Factory which have been banned in India were also charged with similar offences and have lost millions of registered users and their Google downloads have dropped by 90% since the Indian government’s April Press Note 3, 2020 asking the companies based out of countries with which it sharesa border to seek regulatory approval for FDI. 



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