New Delhi: China’s Alibaba Group is in talks to hire Flipkart Ltd’s human resource (HR) executive Priya Cherian as its first HR employee in the country, a move that could help Alibaba recruit more talent from the Indian rival, according to three people close to the development.
Cherian is working with Flipkart, India’s largest consumer Internet company, as director, HR, since April 2015 and has more than six years of experience working with Yahoo in her previous role.
Cherian declined to comment. Alibaba and Flipkart did not respond to Mint’s email queries.
Alibaba Group, which has invested in India’s payment service provider and marketplace Paytm and e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal, is looking to grow its footprint in India and has been exploring the acquisition of a stake in Flipkart and Snapdeal, Mint reported in February.
The Chinese firm has already hired several executives in the country to take care of its strategy in India. In May, it hired former Bain Consulting executive Bharati Balakrishnan and in March it got on board Vinay Bhartia as senior vice-president for strategic partnership. Bhartia largely takes care of Alibaba’s business to business (B2B) platform in the country.
To be sure, Alibaba already runs a business-to-business (B2B) platform in the country, which helps buyers and sellers connect from across the world. The platform, however, does not facilitate any transactions as of now.
The Chinese giant is working towards its own consumer-facing marketplace and it should be off the ground in six to eight months. “We are planning to enter the e-commerce business in India in 2016. We have been exploring very carefully the e-commerce opportunity in this country, which we think is very exciting on the backdrop of Digital India,” Alibaba Group president J. Michael Evans was quoted speaking at an event in March in New Delhi.
Currently, two Alibaba global executives K. Guru Gowrappan, global managing director at Alibaba Group, and Soumitra Sharma, director-global strategy at Alibaba Group, are helping the company spot opportunities in India.