Global online payments giant PayPal has announced the launch of its domestic operations in India as it looks to battle with Alibaba-backed firm Paytm. PayPal's entry comes at a time when Chinese giant Alibaba's payment arm Alipay is planning to expand into the US, the home market of PayPal.
Founded by Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, PayPal disrupted the payments industry nearly two decades ago in the US.
PayPal isn't starting afresh in India too. It is a leading service provider for millions of technology and management freelancers to receive payments from overseas clients. It also claims to service a third of all B2C export transactions happening in the country today.
The company is now looking to leverage this base of users to get merchants to begin accepting payments from customers through it.
While India's digital payment space might seem crowded with Paytm, PhonePe, the government's BHIM and even Google, Rohan Mahadevan, CEO of PayPal & SVP, General Manager, APAC at PayPal, said the introduction of the service was based on the need for a reliable payment solution.
PayPal has already signed up merchants such as BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip, Yatra and ChaiPoint, among others, but the list lacks any of the larger e-commerce players such as Flipkart, Amazon or PaytmMall.
In India, each large player is building its own digital payments platform.
For India, PayPal has set up a customer service centre with multi-lingual support capabilities and an on-ground sales team to drive customer engagement. The government's recent push towards digital payments has also led the company to partner with the government and state-owned banks on number of initiatives, including digital financial literacy programme and eTourist Visa.
"Developing economies are strongly driven by aspirations and no opportunity is bigger for us than India. We will be targeting the global Indian and have partnered with merchants catering to this segment giving them a truly global seamless payments experience," said Anupam Pahuja, country manager and managing director, PayPal India.
PayPal is also planning a larger play and said it was looking into the requirements for a Prepaid Payment Instrument license. If launched, the company would go head to head not only with local players such as Paytm, PhonePe and BHIM, but also global entrants such as Google and WhatsApp.