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Alibaba Buys Daraz to Expand into Pakistan’s Booming Retail Space

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May. 30 2018, Published 12:38 p.m. ET

Daraz operates in several South Asian markets

Alibaba (BABA) recently acquired Pakistan-based e-commerce platform Daraz from Rocket Internet, according to a statement from the seller. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition should allow Alibaba to expand into the world’s most booming retail market. Pakistan’s retail market is poised to expand by 8.2% annually between 2016 and 2021, the fastest growth of any world retail market, according to business intelligence company Euromonitor International.

In addition to Pakistan, Daraz also operates in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Together, these five South Asian markets boast a combined population of more than 460 million people, of whom the majority are young people below 35.

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Alibaba continues international expansion drive

The acquisition of Daraz seems to fit into Alibaba’s international expansion drive, which has seen the company acquire or invest in strategic startups in markets such as Japan and India. In India, for instance, Alibaba backs e-commerce providers Paytm and Snapdeal.

Race to grow global reach

Alibaba is not the only e-commerce giant making an aggressive international push. JD.com (JD), Amazon (AMZN), Walmart (WMT), and eBay (EBAY) are also busy investing to grow their global reach. Earlier this year, JD.com opened a regional office for Australia and New Zealand, and eBay acquired Giosis’s e-commerce operations in Japan. Amazon has lined up a $5.0 billion budget to grow its business in India, while Walmart recently acquired a majority stake in India’s leading e-commerce operator, Flipkart, for a whopping $16 billion.

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