Digital payment facilitates Indians' lives

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/8/25 11:30:56

India, with the world's second largest population of over 1.3 billion, is benefiting from digital payment as Paytm, India's largest mobile-wallet company, deepens cooperation with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

HELPING IMPROVE LITERACY

India has the world's largest population of illiterate adults, amounting to 287 million.

Digital revolution contributes to improving literary among Indian people and mobile phones are taking the lead. Mobile phones have brought bold changes to the Indian society by delinking formal education from literacy as they are getting an increasing number of people involved in the "digital literacy" campaign.

Now, even plenty of illiterates and semi-literates are using digital payment for financial transactions and buying products.

Digital payment has become increasingly popular after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 86 percent of the total currency in circulation would be demonetized in order to make India a cashless society.

Paytm seized the opportunity. The number of their off-line merchants soared to 5 million in the last five months from less than 1 million in November. Another 1 million merchants are already on its e-commerce platform.

FACILITATING PEOPLE'S LIVES

Paytm is now so widely used by customers ranging from high-end supermarkets in big cities to street-side vendors in small towns that it has become a word as people say "Paytm karo," which means "Do Paytm."

"Now, we don't run out of cash on any occasion. If we go to small vendors, we don't have to carry cash or we don't need to rush to an ATM and stand in a queue to get money," said Archana Pandey, a fashion designer.

"Since I am a mother of a two-year-old kid, I had to carry two bags -- one for my stuff such as cash and the other for my baby's stuff. But now, I only have to carry one, for a mobile phone is enough for payment. That is very easy," Pandey added.

"Everybody with a smart phone has a payment account, too. So if I need to pay, say 100 rupees, I type in the number (of the recipient) in the Paytm wallet and then I can transfer 100 rupees into that account. It acts like a bank," said Arijeet Bhattacharya, a high school student.

LEARNING FROM ALIBABA

Paytm, the Alibaba-funded company, has improved many people's lives including small street vendors, some of whom said their sales have gone up by as much as 50 percent due to the introduction of Paytm wallet.

Paytm, which was established in 2010 and was a small-time online payment gateway then, has now become a company worth billions of US dollars.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, chairman and managing director of Paytm, told Xinhua that Paytm received funding from Alibaba because he wanted to replicate Alibaba's success story.

Sharma looked to China instead of rushing to the West for technologies.

India faces similar challenges as China, so the solutions should be similar as well, the 44-year-old director said, adding that he always tells his staff to learn from the experiences of his Chinese partners.

"China's products boast good quality and reasonable price. Paytm has made it easier for us to buy products from China," said Pandey.

Alibaba has helped streamline Paytm's various operations including the payment bank, wallet, e-commerce and marketing. Many of Paytm's staff members were trained by Alibaba in China to learn from their past failures in the Chinese market as the two Asian giants share similar conditions.

The number of sellers on Paytm's e-commerce platform has grown from 33,000 last year to more than 100,000 now and the Indian company plans to increase the number to a million in the years to come.

Paytm's parent company One97 Communications became the first Indian firm to get funds from Alibaba in 2015. Over the past two years, the Chinese company has been supporting Paytm's various ventures -- from the launch of its virtual mall to its payment banking system.

Paytm now employs more than 13,000 people across India. Every month, over 200 million Indians use Paytm for various day-to-day activities, helping the digital platform conduct transactions worth 10 billion US dollars.

For its payment bank, a whopping 100 billion Indian rupees (about 1.5 billion dollars) is slated to be deposited into Paytm accounts by 2018 as it expects to open 100 million accounts during the next couple of years. And that will put it among the top five payment gateways (in terms of the user-base) in the world.

However, the company will not stop there as it aims to get half a billion Indians on board.

Posted in: INDUSTRIES

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