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Alibaba launches SMILE program for SMEs; Hindi version coming soon


Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has launched Small and Medium Industries Leveraging Export programme (SMILE), to offer solutions like logistics, certifications, technology and financing, reports afaqs. The platform claims it can help support over 10 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) expand globally.

Alibaba has partnered with various companies like Kotak Mahindra Bank, Crisil Rating, Tally, SGS, ICICI Bank, Capital Float Jeena and Mypacco to provide finance, credit rating, transportation and online lending services to SMEs. It will also provide cross-border logistics, access to global business trading counterparts and inspections and certifications to SMEs and also facilitate access to local credit line providers to merchants with a good trading record.

The SMILE initiative is for merchants on Alibaba.com’s global resellers platform that was opened to Indian SMEs in July. Targeted at exporters and small-scale manufacturers, the program aims to help export Indian apparel, jewellery, handicraft and food & agro products. It currently claims to have 4.5 million Indian SMEs on board and to list buyers and suppliers from 190 countries.

Hindi portal: Alibaba mentions that it will also launch a Hindi version of the portal for B2B businesses. The company claims to have an Indian tech support team at its headquarters in China that is working on making the Hindi version of the website. The Hindi portal is expected to launch in the next couple of months. This move should be useful for SMEs, especially in small towns and rural areas where vernacular languages are predominantly spoken.

Alibaba in India: The Chinese ecommerce giant has stepped up its activities in India considerably this year.

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– Earlier this year, Alibaba picked up 25% stake in Paytm parent One97 for an estimated $575 million. In September, it invested an undisclosed amount in a fresh round of funding in Paytm.

– In June, the company tied up with logistics provider MYPACCO for setting up a trade centre in India, while in August, Alibaba, along with other investors, invested $500 million in Snapdeal.

– The company later got a CCI approval for 4.14% stake in the Indian ecommerce platform.

Also read65% of Alibaba’s total GMV through mobile; takeaways from Q2 results

Image source: Flickr user Clive Darra

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