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The founder of the most important payment application in India, Paytm, said that the company's company in Japan has 8 million customers, which allows it to establish itself in a huge potential market, as it faces foreign rivals in his country.

PayPay, a joint venture between Paytm, SoftBank and Yahoo Japan Corporation, has grown significantly since its launch last year, said Vijay Shekhar Sharma in a recent interview with the Financial Times.

"In Japan we have incredible traction," said Mr. Sharma, who at 41 is one of the youngest billionaires in India. "We just touched 8 million customers, that number in six months is amazing."

Paytm, a mobile payment application based on QR codes, is one of the market leaders in India with more than 250 million users, but has been under pressure due to the technological titans of the US. UU., Like Amazon and Google, decided to dominate one of the most important in the world. Promising mobile payment markets.

Using QR codes to pay is uncommon in Japan, where even large supermarkets and medical clinics insist on cash and refuse to accept cards. This contrasts sharply with China, where digital payments are so popular that some providers have stopped accepting notes.

But Tokyo is trying to emulate its peers without cash, and last year it said it would double digital payment rates in 2025 to 40 percent of transactions. Companies like Paytm see Japan's low rate of digital payments as an opportunity and are moving.

PayPay's main competition is Line, a popular messaging application that is aggressively expanding into financial services, said Toshihisa Hirano, an analyst at Boston Consulting Group in Tokyo.

PayPay had gained momentum after doing great money-back promotions, he said.

"It was a very successful campaign, for consumers it was attractive, but if you can keep the number of users that is another issue, the competition is pretty fierce," said Mr. Hirano. "There are a lot of players coming in trying to keep society from having cash, but it is not yet known if they will succeed."

Meanwhile, Mr. Sharma is optimistic about PayPay's prospects. "Nobody bet of this type in the (Japanese) market," he said, "in a short period of time it has become big."

Mr. Sharma intends to introduce P2P transactions (peer-to-peer), which allow the transfer of funds between two people who use an application, within the next year, while the company competes to secure alliances with merchants before the Olympic Games. 2020 in Tokyo.

Paytm's success in Japan comes as the company's domination of the fiercely competitive payment space of India is being challenged by the giants of Silicon Valley. Last year, Mr. Sharma attacked foreign technology groups, and tweeted that India "should not let them colonize our internet, their ambitions and intentions are clear in the last few weeks!"

Since then, New Delhi has announced new data-location regulations that prohibit companies from sending financial information abroad, and new e-commerce rules designed to protect small Indian retailers, which have been criticized by the Trump administration for not give to US companies UU "

But Sharma said New Delhi is doing a "fantastic job of balancing" the interests of multinationals and small retailers. He rejected the threat posed by Amazon and Flipkart, owned by Walmart, and said that the digital payment space is so underdeveloped in India that there is more than enough space for everyone.

To continue gaining customers and merchants, Paytm aims to monopolize India kirana stores – small stores that control the country's retail landscape – through an extensive reach.

As the company deploys a set of different financial offers, the ultimate goal is to create a super financial application, emulating China's WeChat, where customers can do everything from banking to games. Paytm can be a "superpower" of financial services, Sharma said, "we get an advantage from distribution and discoveries from there."

Last year, Paytm launched a credit card in partnership with Citi and a loyalty program to counter the Amazon Prime subscription and the Flipkart Plus membership. Mr. Sharma said that after adjustments in the company's e-commerce company, Paytm Mall, he expects to "recover in less than two years."

In May, Paytm Payments Bank, a bank that can take deposits and remittances but can not lend, said it had become profitable after its second year of operation, with a profit of $ 2.7 million.

Looking to the future, Mr. Sharma urged India to implement 5G quickly, which would allow the country to "skip" outdated technology. "I wish the government had the auction faster and the deployment occurs on time," he said, "we should take the initiative."