Mobile Payments Platform Paytm Takes Aim at Developed Markets

January 29, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

I don’t know whether this plan is crazy or brilliant, or somewhere in between, but it’s definitely audacious. Recent reports emerged that Paytm—one of the biggest names in India’s mobile payments scene—is considering an expansion effort, and it’s targeting developed markets for its next big push.

Paytm’s chief financial officer, Madhur Deora, took the stage oat the recent Davos World Economic Forum to announce the move, in which it plans to take its act on the road to Canada and Japan. Deora noted that several market verticals were producing for Paytm, and though there was no timeline cited as to when the expansion would take place, Deora noted that the company was working to improve its scalability.

Paytm actually has something of a presence in Japan already, thanks to a tripartite effort between itself, SoftBank, and Yahoo! Japan, which ended up producing the PayPay app, a move designed to better move the Japanese to cashless payments. Cash is still front-and-center in Japanese society, though the Japanese government is eager to facilitate a move. Right now, 20 percent of transactions therein are cashless, and the Japanese government wants that doubled by 2025.

Paytm’s BHIM Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has made a significant contribution to mobile payments in India, with about 33 percent of the market under its collective belt. Since BHIM UPI is becoming a preferred payment method, that’s given Paytm a real push in the field.

When I first heard about this I thought it was a disaster waiting to happen. Why would Paytm make a push on markets where there were already plenty of options? Then I saw which developing markets they had in mind and the whole thing just clicked. Look at the two noted: Canada and Japan. Japan may be a developed market, but it’s barely scratched the surface on mobile payments. Canada, likewise. Truly, Paytm has picked its targets well: developed markets that, oddly, don’t have much of a mobile payments presence yet.

This could work out a lot better than anyone expected, and in the end, give Paytm a lot of extra room to roll in the wider market. Its move to secure market share in places that haven’t yet become saturated should prove a smart one after all.