Amid heightened tensions at the border between China and India, Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent has invested nearly $63 million in Flipkart, according to regulatory filings of the holding company in Singapore. The filing, which was sourced from business intelligence platform Paper.vc, shows Tencent holds 4-5% stake in Flipkart, where US-based Walmart is the largest shareholder with over 80% stake.
According to Paper.vc, the funding is possibly part of the broader Walmart-led investment of $1.2 billion announced in July. On Wednesday, Flipkart declined to comment on TOI’s query on Tencent investing in the firm and if it has sought the government’s approval.
This comes at a time when India, following the developments at the border, has been taking multiple steps to limit China’s influence on the economy, including changing foreign direct investment (FDI) rules, especially when it results in strategic influence. On August 26, TOI reported that Alibaba’s Ant Group had said it was re-considering its follow-on investment in Zomato because of the recent changes by the Indian government. Zomato recently raised $100 million from Tiger Global as part of its broader $600-million funding round.
Among the total 224 Chinese apps banned in India so far, the government has banned other products of Tencent such as PUBG Mobile Lite, WeChat Reading,WeChat Work, Tencent Weiyun. Soon after this, the popular game’s South Korean parent PUBG Corporation cancelled Tencent’s franchise rights for the game in India hoping for a comeback. Currently, the ban continues on PUBG Mobile.
In 2019, Chinese investment in Indian startups jumped to almost $4 billion, compared to around $2 billion a year ago. Apart from Tencent, Alibaba Group is the other large strategic Chinese investor in India and its portfolio includes Paytm, Bigbasket.