Following recent incursions by Silicon Valley giants, India’s top payments app is fighting back.
Paytm, with 230 million registered users across the nation, is now rolling out messaging to combat WhatsApp’s upcoming send-money-to-your-buddy feature, which will make its global debut in the fast-growing Indian market. WhatsApp’s cash transfers are set to launch in December.
Google is another new rival for the Indian startup. In September, the firm unveiled a new app called Tez, launched first in India, as a new mobile payments option.
Paytm’s in-app chat is dubbed Inbox, reports The Hindu. “We have realised that besides making payments, our users and merchants also like to communicate with each other,” said Deepak Abbot, Paytm senior vice president, at yesterday’s launch. As well as messaging friends, users can send photos, videos, and their location – plus sending or requesting money.
Chats are encrypted end-to-end – just as they are on WhatsApp.
Amid a rise in smartphone usage across India, consumers are sent to spend US$9 billion on their phones this year – versus just US$1 billion two years ago, says Morgan Stanley.
Paytm’s messaging move is not without precedent. In China, Alibaba’s Alipay app has a tab for messaging where friends can send each other money, request payment, give “red envelope” gifts, and share coupons alongside the more usual fare, such as photo-sharing:
Ant Financial, maker of Alipay, is a major investor in Paytm.
Thanks to the largesse of the Chinese tech giant as well as this year’s US$1.4 billion investment from Japan’s Softbank, Paytm has the cash and resources to fight back hard against the Silicon Valley interlopers.
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