Alibaba May Invest $1.2bn in India's Micromax
A file photograph of an employee at a Micromax mobile phones showroom in New DelhiReuters

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding is reportedly in negotiations with India's Micromax Informatics to acquire a near 20% stake in the smartphone maker.

The deal, if completed, will see Alibaba invest as much as $1.2bn (£775m, €1.07bn), valuing Micromax, the second-biggest smartphone brand in India by sales, at $5bn to $6bn, Reuters reported.

Micromax commands an 18% share of India's smartphone market, according to market research firm IDC. As such, a stake in Micromax will give Alibaba access to India's fast growing smartphone market.

YunOS

Alibaba has a homegrown operating system (OS) known as YunOS (also known as Aliyun OS), which promotes a variety of the company's online services over those of Google or other rivals.

The Chinese firm is looking to grow YunOS in order to push its e-commerce services and an investment in Micromax could see Alibaba install its OS on Micromax devices, and tap India's e-commerce market thereby.

News of a likely deal was first reported by CNBC.

Alibaba has been pushing its mobile operating system in recent months.

In April, the tech giant partnered with state-backed China Telecom to sell budget smartphones in the nation's smaller cities and rural areas, in a further bid to boost its presence in unchartered territory.

In February, Alibaba injected $590m into a tiny Chinese smartphone player called Meizu, which accounts for less than 2% of China's smartphone market.