How Indian Startups Are Grabbing A Larger Slice of Chinese Investments

Some of the big investments in the Indian startup ecosystem are done by Alibaba, Ctrip and Tencent
How Indian Startups Are Grabbing A Larger Slice of Chinese Investments
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Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific
4 min read

Indian startups are raking millions and taking over the world with their work. Even Chinese investors are also finding it hard to resist the charm of India’s startup ecosystem. Where on one hand popular names like Zomato, Practo, and Wittyfeed have already ventured into the foreign land to expand their companies globally and have seen significant success, on the other hand, startups like Paytm and MakeMyTrip are making India a hotbed for global investments.

A report “India – China: Startups & Beyond” by global consultancy company firm KPMG gives a detailed account of the Indian startup ecosystem and why it is the right place for making venture investments.

“In 2017, Indian start-ups received INR 129 billion ($2 billion) from China, a growth of 3x as compared to previous year. The surge in investments indicates an inclination of Chinese to shift or expand out of China to leverage the benefits of cheaper labour, new markets and less domestic vulnerability," the report says.

In terms of investments, Chinese firms have predominantly focused on sectors like e-commerce, followed by transportation and fintech (financial technology), with the majority of the biggest deals in the late-stage e-commerce sector. Some of the big investments in the Indian startup ecosystem are done by Alibaba, Ctrip and Tencent.

Over the last few years, the country has witnessed foreign capital dominating some of the biggest startups. Let’s have a look at the most popular names that have got wings from Chinese investors.  Founded by serial entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia, is a leading global advertising technology company that develops innovative products for both publishers and advertisers. In 2016, the tech startup announced the closing of its acquisition by a group of Chinese investors for about $900 million. The Chinese consortium led by Zhiyong Zhang, the chairman of Beijing Miteno Communication Technology Co. Ltd. bought from Turakhia’s Starbuster TMT Investments.

Paytm:  One97 Communications-backed Paytm has become a leader in India’s digital payment landscape. In March 2015, the e-wallet giant founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, received funding from Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group, after Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba Group affiliate, took 25% stake in One97 as part of a strategic agreement. In 2018, Paytm’s e-commerce arm, Paytm Mall also raised $200 million from Alibaba Group and SAIF Partners.

Snapdeal:  E-commerce marketplace Snapdeal has received several rounds of funding in the past. Launched in 2010 by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Snapdeal closed a funding round of $500 million (Rs 3,259 crore) from Foxconn, Alibaba Group and SoftBank in 2015. Snapdeal soon became the largest online marketplace in India offering an assortment of 10 million products across diverse categories from over 100,000 sellers on its platform, shipping to more than 5,000 towns and cities in India.

MakeMyTrip: In 2017, Online travel firm MakeMyTrip raised $330 million in fresh funds from Chinese travel firm International Ltd, South African technology group Naspers and other investors. Headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana, the company provides online travel services including flight tickets, domestic and international holiday packages, hotel reservations, rail and bus tickets. In January 2016, Shanghai-based Ctrip also agreed to invest $180 million in convertible bonds to MakeMyTrip.

Hike:  Indian messaging platform Hike raised $175 million in funding led by Tencent & Foxconn. After raising this round Hike reached the valuation of $1.4 billion and became the youngest startup to reach unicorn status having achieved it in just 3.7 years after launch. Founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal, son of telecom billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal, the app attained 15 million users in February 2014. Over the next few months, the application introduced free text messaging across India, chat themes, updated stickers, hidden chats and revamped user interface.

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