M-commerce firm Paytm has become the country’s largest digital company in the country with no near-term competitor. The company has been scaling rapidly in the last two years registering more than 300% year-on-year growth. Paytm, recently announced that it has clocked a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $1.5 billion in 15 months by targeting its 80 million wallet users. The company aims to reach $4 billion GMV by the year end and $10 billion GMV in the next 24 months.
Speaking to FE, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm says, “We want to be a global brand. We would replicate the Paytm’s
successful Indian model in the
foreign market. Our teams are already working in Singapore and Middle East, and we will start the trial operation by this year end in these two places.”
Earlier this year, Alibaba, China’s biggest retailer acquired 25% stake in the company with an investment of $575 million, which Sharma calls it as the biggest achievement that the company has seen. “Alibaba is not an investor. They are a good business partner for us. There is no pressure of exit and we are here for long term, maybe for the next 10 years. Our businesses are aligned and focus remains clear,” he says.
With Alibaba’s entry, many are skeptical whether the company would now push more of Chinese products into the Indian Market. But, Sharma says that their focus would be get as many SMEs in India on its platform and given them space in the wider market.
“We entered the market at the right time and found right investors and partners. We were not doing what everybody else was doing. We were different and that is why people got interested in our business model. Fund raising was never an issue for us,” he adds.
However, the going is not easy for the company. There are challenges in terms of technology and getting more merchants online. Not many are comfortable doing business online using modern technology. Merchants need help at various levels- from taking photograph of the products, to preparing catalogue and product information.
The company plans to have one-million merchants on it’s platform, nearly doubling its numbers from the existing level. “Indian merchants need lot of hand holding and need support at almost every stage, while in some other geography, they are very proactive. Our biggest challenge is on the merchant training. We have set aside $100 million to train the merchants to cope with technology,” Sharma said.
With big players eating the smaller ones in the emerging market scenarios, the company, however says, it has no plans to acquire any mobile wallet company in India. With the partnership with Alibaba, the company plans to grow big in the coming days and hope to get clearance on the payment banking licence. “RBI is seeking clarity on various aspects of our business model. There are exchange of mails in the last few weeks between Paytm and RBI and we expect the RBI governor to take a decision in this regard by by August 2015,” Sharma adds.