Alibaba's Jack Ma may invest in Paytm; here's why Indian e-commerce will never be the same again

October 2011: Vijay Shekhar Sharma is in Hong Kong at an AsiaD Conference, the first All Things Digital conference in the continent. As sundry speakers begin strutting their stuff, the founder of One97 Communications, which started in 2000 as a value-added services (VAS) player in India and had just begun offering online mobile recharges via a platform called Paytm, is a casual listener — like most delegates at such jamborees. God, for the Indian entrepreneur, was Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, the world’s largest etailer and whose stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange is worth close to $250 billion at current prices, more than Facebook; and whose value of transactions in 2013 via its three sites — Taobao, a shopping site for small merchants; Tmall, which sells goods of bigger merchants; and, which connects Chinese exporters with companies globally — was higher than those done by Amazon and eBay combined.


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