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The Economic Times

Paytm will launch stock broking in next few months: Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Vijay-Shekhar-Sharma-BCCl-1
"We have been the payments champion and we will continue to focus on payments"
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO, Paytm, says the company is already working in Japan and Canada and many other countries are being considered.

Edited excerpts:

Vijay Shekhar Sharma: We have been the payments champion and we will continue to focus on payments. We have seen the payments in tier one, tier two, tier three cities. We want to take it to tier three, tier four and tier five toens. We have a huge huge leg up already but still work has to be done for our payment business. Next year also, it will be a huge payment push and services are a good cohort extension of the same customer to the next service.

ET Now: We have just moved into a new financial year. Going ahead, what will be your key focus for growth and profits? Are there any expansion plans?
Vijay Shekhar Sharma: One of the most important things that we have to do is expand our payment acceptance network. A large number of customers have got on-boarded. There are different kinds of payments. We have a lot to do. We expect a lot of resources will be put up there.

We would also start upgrading some of our customers and give them offers from banks and NBFCs for loans or insurances companies for insurance or wealth products. We have distributed different AMC products under this. We will start distributing different products to the customers via different partnerships this year.

ET Now: Any particular target areas or the sector which you think has the maximum potential but is still untapped?
Vijay Shekhar Sharma: India is an extremely underserved market. I would say, overall financial services in this country have huge scope. Customers who are earning a couple of lakh rupees a year are optimally served. But for masses, there is a huge underserved market. I do not think even bank accounting as a service has been well served yet. We have seen a tremendous response and action in Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and those accounts. We have opened mobility trinity accounts so when you want to look at full banking scope, then there is a lot to be done there also. Everything is underpenetrated. We do not see there is anything which is over-served.

ET Now: Mobile wallets have become really popular these days. Every other company is coming up with an ewallet. How do you think this will impact Paytm?
Vijay Shekhar Sharma: The best thing about any business is that as it becomes more aware, customers become more trusting. This means many people are doing and so this is going to be a trend. Paytm had reached to a significant penetration level but the next set of penetration requires even huge larger investment and many more players to participate. So, it is a good thing that other players have entered the field. It has increased the market size. Obviously, the customers will adopt products which serves most of the needs and we wish to become that product.

ET Now: Do you have any plans with regard to expanding globally?
Vijay Shekhar Sharma: We are working in Japan as we speak and Japan’s response has been really good and we have a few more countries in our queue. I do not know what timeline we will end up coming up with though.

ET Now: Which countries are you looking at?
Vijay Shekhar Sharma: I mean, they are both in the east and west. It all depends on many more variables but our primary market remains India. This is purely an experimentation done by our Canada team.

ET Now: Paytm also offers mobile ecommerce thing with Paytm mall. How do you think the current e-commerce policy will fare in the coming time? Government’s FDI policy has restricted players like Amazon and Flipkart.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma: I think Indian policy on e-commerce has been very clear that you are not supposed to be a retailer but you are supposed to be a technology platform. As far as Paytm Mall is concerned, it has been the technology platform. We have supplied technology first to online sellers and now we are focussing on offline stores and sellers which is OTO commerce. As far as the policy is concerned, we believe it is a great opportunity to bring technology to the different sellers. It is a marketplace model versus an inventory model.

I do think that for India where there are a large number of merchants, offline stores and businesses that generate a lot of employment and lot of revenues, it is better to bring them technology instead of becoming a competition. We totally support that approach where online platforms should act like a marketplace and a technology platform.

ET Now: What kind of innovation is Paytm working on? What new services can we expect to be added in the near future?
Vijay Shekhar Sharma: Stock broking will be one of the very exciting things that we launch in the next few months.
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