After months of speculations, Alibaba has finally invested $35 Mn (INR 224 Cr) in Pune-based logistics company XpressBees, as per the latest regulatory documents filed with the Registrar of Companies in December 2017.

Earlier this month, Inc42 reported that Alibaba is in talks to invest up to $100 Mn in XpressBees and the deal is likely to be closed in two to three weeks.

Reportedly, Xpressbees has issued 70, 653 series D preference shares to Alibaba as part of the investment.

Alibaba was looking to invest in Indian logistics segment since June 2016 and was eyeing both Delhivery and XpressBess for investment.

With this, Alibaba aims to build an iron triangle in the Indian landscape with the three hottest sectors enclosed within – Digital payments (Paytm), Ecommerce (Paytm Mall) and Logistics (which is now XpressBees).

Starting from Paytm ($1 Bn), the Chinese conglomerate has placed its bid into Indian ventures such as Paytm Mall ($175 Mn), Snapdeal ($150 Mn), BigBasket ($300 Mn)and TicketNew ($30 Mn). With the XpressBees deal, the total investment of Alibaba in India has reached around $1.6 Bn.

Founded in 2015 by Amitava Saha and Supam Maheshwari, XpressBees is an ecommerce logistics company, spun out of baby products retailer FirstCry, which made headlines in October 2016 after acquiring its rival BabyOye.

Owned by Busybees Logistics Solutions, Xpressbees aims to fulfill comprehensive supply-demand needs of India’s online industry through best in class solutions and domain expertise.

It caters to the services such as last-mile delivery, reverse logistics, payment collection, drop shipping, vendor management, cross-border services, fulfillment services and tailored software solutions.

As mentioned on its website, the team deliver 60,000+ shipments every day, and this number is scaling exponentially. It already works with Paytm as third-party logistics and eKYC partner and also raised $12.5 Mn Series A investment from existing investors SAIF Partners, IDG Ventures, Vertex Ventures and Valiant Capital in February 2016.

“Alibaba wants to make Xpress-Bees the Cainiao of India, and over time logistics operations for all companies like Paytm Mall and Bigbasket may get consolidated under it giving it a larger captive customer base,” said one of the sources in an earlier interaction to ET .

Based in China, Cainiao was founded by Alibaba Group in May 2013 with a consortium of logistics companies. Alibaba recently increased its stake in the $20 Bn worth company to become a majority shareholder and have also announced that time to invest $15 Bn in order to develop its global logistics network in the next five years.

With XpressBees added to Chinese conglomerate’s Indian portfolio, Alibaba will now be working aggressively to boost its position ahead of rivals like Flipkart and Amazon In India.

To be noted, both Amazon and Flipkart are striving hard to increase their share in the Indian ecommerce sector which is pegged at $33 Bn this fiscal year.  Also, they are trying to strengthen their in-house logistics and digital payment verticals, which are now the two supporting pillars for the most successful ecommerce business anywhere in the world.

While Paytm has proven to be the most successful bet for Alibaba in the Indian landscape, will XpressBees be able to create a similar success story for Alibaba, will be interesting to watch.

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