India’s Leading digital payments Company, Paytm, is Gambling on Its Own Regional expertise and a deep pool of backers to fuel Company Expansion and fight Away global rivals in a Fast Expanding Economy, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
Paytm, which began in 2010, became a household name in the country after a ban on high-value currency notes late 2016 led to a money crunch and spurred using electronic payments.
“If you’ve got a standalone payments firm, you have an opportunity in the market. But there’s a bigger game being played in the ecosystem level – there the earnings becomes made or the value gets created,” Sharma said on Tuesday.
Paytm, that counts Alibaba Group and SoftBank Group Corp among its investors, is transforming into a financial services start-up with forays in banking, mutual funds and after insurance. Sharma has also begun an e-commerce venture, where obligations are driven by Paytm.
Credit Suisse estimated that the value of trades industry-wide to grow five-fold to $1 trillion by 2023.
With 95 million monthly active consumers, Paytm has been growing by 5 per cent to 6 per cent month-on-month. It intends to reach 500 million users by 2022, Sharma said.
Paytm has set a target to increase its offline retailers to 15 million by March 2019, from 9 million today.
“Paytm has gone into a network effect right now,” said Sharma, 40, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $2.2 billion.
As more customers start using Paytm, more merchants join, spurring additional use, he added.
Most Paytm users have bank accounts, but it has simplified its program to achieve India’s vast unbanked population, particularly in smaller towns and cities. The program is also available in about 11 languages.
The Unified Payment Interface (UPI), a state-backed open stage, allows people to send money to one another and directly into bank account by connecting cellular numbers.
The system has reshaped the payments arena and Paytm and other mobile wallet firms are adding services to retain users.
Sharma said Paytm had no need to raise additional money.
“There is an advantage of becoming a private business,” he said. “And we always have capital requirements three years forward in our bank. So for three years, we are sorted.”