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Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba entered has expanded its Trade Facilitation Centre programme in India and has signed agreements with Kotak Mahindra Bank, IDFC Bank, Delhivery, DHL and Aditya Birla Finance.  Alibaba had introduced the programme in the country in June 2015 and had partnered with MYPACCO, ICICI Bank and certification company SGS to boost their logistics, trade finance and checks and inspections for wholesale-trade.

Kotak Mahindra Bank and IDFC Bank will provide banking, transactional and lending solutions while  Aditya Birla Finance will help provide SMEs’ collateral-free loans and customized financing options under this agreement.

DHL will present Alibaba members with Concept 1, a program with one solution for all exports and imports of documents, samples and small shipments. Delhivery will provide domestic courier and logistics services with free shipments and offer Alibaba members special solutions, prices and customer support.

Alibaba’s marketplace also said it has had around 6 million registered Indian buyers and sellers as of early 2016.

SMILE Programme: In December 2015,  the company launched Small and Medium Industries Leveraging Export programme (SMILE) in India, to offer solutions like logistics, certifications, technology and financing. The platform claims it can help support over 10 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) expand globally.

At the time, it mentioned that it would also launch a Hindi version of the portal for B2B businesses. The company said to have an Indian tech support team at its headquarters in China that is working on making the Hindi version of the website.

Softbank share sale: In June, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group (SBG) sold $7.9 billion of its stake in the Alibaba to reduce its debt. SBG had first invested in the ecommerce company in 2000 and a owned 32.2% stake. The stake was brought down to 28%, although SBG claims to still remain Alibaba’s largest stockholder. At the same time, Alibaba said it sold shares worth $500 million each to subsidiaries of Singapore’s GIC and Temasek Holdings. The private placements to GIC and Temasek were priced at $74.00 per share.

Image source: Flickr user Clive Darra under CCBY.20 licence