Added to these recent headlines showing the growing focus on Indian SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is the launch of SMILE by the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.com.
The programme SMILE, Small and Medium Industries Leveraging Export, offers a slew of services ranging from financing and logistics to certifications and technology to the Indian SMEs registered with Alibaba. The programme is launched in support of the ‘Make in India’ and the ‘Digital India’ campaigns, both of which are initiated by the government of India to connect the Indian merchants with Chinese suppliers, provide holistic trading support to the SMEs and expedite the global sales of Indian products via the platform.
Kotak Mahindra Bank, Crisil Rating, Tally, SGS, ICICI Bank, Capital Float Jeena and Mypacco are a few companies to have partnered with Alibaba to provide finance, credit rating, transportation and online lending services to SMEs. This move by Alibaba is in line with the recent efforts it has taken to seriously focus on Indian. In early 2015, Alibaba picked up 25% stake in Paytm’s parent One97, invested $500 million in Snapdeal.,tied up with logistics provider MYPACCO for setting up a trade centre in India and got a CCI approval for 4.14% stake in the Indian ecommerce platform.
“We are excited to team up with credible and capable local Indian enterprises to offer this SMILE program, helping SMEs from India expand their business footprint in an efficient way. With resources from different enterprises which excel in their own fields, our B2B e-ecosystem can benefit more than 10 million SMEs in India.”- Timothy Leung, head of global business development, Alibaba.
A Hindi version of the portal is expected to be launched in a few months’ time to reach out to potential SMEs in small and rural areas dominated by vernacular languages. 4.5 million Indian SMEs are registered on the platform currently having buyers as well as suppliers from over 190 countries. SMILE is hoped to help over 10 million Indian SMEs and successfully concludes the FY2015 with a ‘smile’ on its faces.