Paytm is ready to take on its rivals in India by expanding its services and relying on its regional expertise.
“The fight is no more about one company, it is about ecosystem players,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of Paytm’s parent One97 Communications, told Reuters. “If you have a standalone payments company, you definitely have an opportunity in the market. But there is a bigger game being played in the ecosystem level — there the revenue gets made or the value gets created.”
Already India’s top digital payments firm, Paytm is expanding into banking, mutual funds and eventually insurance. Sharma has also launched an eCommerce venture, where payments are driven by Paytm.
The additional services come at a time when competition in India is heating up: Google Pay is available in India and recently announced it will be expanding into other parts of Asia, while earlier this year it was reported that Facebook will be moving into peer-to-merchant payments in India.
Paytm has 95 million monthly active users to date, growing by 5 percent to 6 percent month-on-month. Sharma said that it aims to reach 500 million users by 2022, and is working to boost its offline merchants to 15 million by March 2019, from its current 9 million.
“Paytm has gone into a network effect right now,” said Sharma, who added that as more customers start using the service, more merchants join, leading to more use.
Paytm is backed by Japanese mega-investor Softbank and Chinese eCommerce giants Alibaba and Alibaba’s almost-equally massive financial arm Ant Financial. Last month, Berkshire Hathaway also became an investor in a deal that valued Paytm at more than $10 billion.
Sharma said the company doesn’t need to raise additional funds.
“There is an advantage of being a private company,” he said. “And we always have capital requirements three years forward in our bank. So for three years, we are sorted.”