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Paytm, AliExpress in global tie-up

To start with, the collaboration will open the doors for Paytm to four global markets, including China

Sounak Mitra & Digbijay Mishra  |  New Delhi 

"Go Big or Go Home", reads the latest campaign by Paytm, a mobile wallet brand owned by the Noida-based One97 Communications, now 25 per cent owned by Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Paytm is going 'big', faster than the market expected. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, chairman and managing director of One97 Communications, on Friday said Paytm would have more than 100 million wallets ahead of its self-determined deadline, much before the year ends. It currently has 66 million, up from about 20 million in January.

"The next target is to have half a billion Paytm wallets," Sharma said, without setting a timeline. As India has only about 300 million internet-connected people, Sharma cannot have half a billion users from India over the next few years.

"Paytm and AliExpress are working together for fruitful collaborations to tap international markets, and that will happen soon," said Eric Jing, chief operating officer, Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding. Ant Financial picked up a 25 per cent stake in One97 Communications in February for about $200 million.

AliExpress is the international online marketplace for Alibaba. The collaboration with AliExpress would open doors for Paytm to international markets, four to start with, including China, said Jing. Chinese sellers will have access to the Indian market through Paytm's network and Indian sellers will plug into AliExpress' international network.

Jing said both the companies were looking to build multilingual applications for Paytm's global gambit. "A few are under discussion. We are yet to finalise," Jing added.

Earlier this year, Sharma had told Business Standard that Paytm might look at new markets like Singapore as a gateway to Southeast Asia.

With this, Paytm will be the first Indian e-commerce or mobile commerce venture to enter the global mart. American e-commerce company eBay allows Indian merchants to export.

Besides the wallet business and the mobile commerce marketplace of Paytm, Ant Financial that also runs Alibaba's Alipay Wallet, the largest mobile payment service provider in China with over 190 million users, is looking at introducing financial products for Paytm users. There are regulatory issues that need to be sorted out first. "We have the experience of running the financial products business catering mainly to small and medium businesses," said Jing.

Paytm on Friday unveiled a zero-commission mobile app marketplace targeted at small and medium firms. It allows merchants to sell directly to consumers. Besides, it has unveiled a new Paytm app that allows users to transact and chat instantly.

According to Sharma, the mobile marketplace will push Paytm's total transaction value to $4 billion by the end of 2015. Half of this will come from mobile commerce, while the remaining will come from its existing e-commerce wallet business.

From about 33,000 merchants on its network today, Sharma hopes to have 100,000 merchants on the Paytm marketplace by the end of the year. He expects to increase the number of stock-keeping units, essentially units sold, to 100 million from 8.5 million now.

Paytm, which has yet to turn a profit, will not charge merchants a commission on their sales, making money instead on fees charged when they transfer money earned out of the site. It makes about 2.5 per cent as a fee on cash-out transactions.

The Alibaba group is reported to be pumping $575 million into Paytm, of which $200 million has come in the first tranche.

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First Published: Sat, April 25 2015. 00:57 IST