• Alibaba, through its Web services arm UCWeb, wants to give free Internet access to Indian consumers.

Alibaba, through its Web services arm UCWeb, wants to give free Internet access to Indian consumers. (Photo : Getty Images)

Alibaba, through its software and Internet services arm UCWeb, is looking to offer free data to Indian consumers, Business Insider India reported.

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The company is in talks with Wi-Fi providers and local telecom operators to provide such free services.

"We will definitely look at the opportunity to work together with service providers or even some Wi-Fi providers," said Jack Huang, president of overseas business at Alibaba Mobile Business. "

We are trying to offer lower cost data to users and better connectivity, even free of cost connectivity. Wi-Fi providers and other players can be potentials and we are in talk."

This is not the first time that a foreign company has attempted to offer free Internet access to Indian consumers. Facebook launched the internet.org, an initiative to enable low-cost Internet connectivity to third-world countries.

The social networking giant also unveiled Free Basics, an initiative to provide free access to some web services. Both plans did not take off due to tough regulatory measures.

Alibaba has yet to give the specific type of access it wants to offer, although it said that it is already negotiating with potential partners.

"We actually think in geographic way because in India not every state is suffering from connectivity problem so we will focus more on providing this kind of services to states that are suffering more and also we will have comprehensive analysis on already existing consumers who will actually need this kind of service," Huang said.

India has seen several tech players tapping into its population of more than 900 million. Even Chinese smartphone companies are turning their focus on India whose market is seen as one of the world's fastest-growing.

The Indian government, meanwhile, is building up a so-called "Digital Village" to connect its population. The country is set to roll out free Wi-Fi access to more than 1,000 rural villages, according to a Fortune report.