Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding's payments affiliate Ant Financial is currently contemplating investing a whopping $200 million in Zomato Media, an India-based food tech company and international restaurant advertising platform.

Ever since the word about this "would-be" investment got out, people in the food tech world have been picking each other's brains about what made Alibaba go after an Indian food-delivery platform. A close scrutinisation of Ant Financial's recent investment habits does give us a little idea about what the Chinese ecommerce biggie is thinking.

According to Mint, Alibaba investing big bucks into Zomato can be considered another "move by Ant Financial to continue to follow Chinese tourists in south-east Asia." In August this year, the Ant decided to join hands with Yelp in the US so as to facilitate the restaurant payments of Chinese tourists' in the country. This move came close after Amazon in June announced about its plans to acquire Whole Foods.

Commenting on the deal brewing between Zomato and Ant, China Daily said that the Indian restaurant aggregator had sought financing from Ant. It further remarked that if the deal does go through it fits beautifully with Alibaba's recent purchase of a big stake in India's largest mobile wallet operator, Paytm.

The food delivery business in India, which is just a smaller part of Zomato's overall business, is very competitive and has even lower margins. In July, while Zomato did 3 million orders, its rival Swiggy claimed to have outdone Zomato by successfully completing 4 million orders. Swiggy is backed by Naspers, a South Africa media company, which also owns a big portion in China's Tencent Holdings.

The Ant-Zomato deal could end up valuing Zomato anywhere between $800 million and more than $1 billion. Starting its journey in 2008, Zomato is currently live in 24 countries and 10,000 cities. Two years ago, the platform raised funds from Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Vy Capital. Established names like Sequoia Capital and Info Edge also find a place among the firm's institutional investors.

Keep watching this space to know if the Ant-Zomato deal goes through or not. Either way, we will keep you updated.

[Image: Entrackr]

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