‘In­dia at Heart of What We Do in Dig­i­tal’

Over the last few years, we have in­vested about $750 mil­lion in In­dia and it is a big in­vest­ment for a com­pany of our size

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

Pune is an im­por­tant des­ti­na­tion fo r Martina Hund-Me­jean, Master­card’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, given that the city houses the pay­ment tech­nol­ogy com­pany’s sec­ond largest tech­nol­ogy hub glob­ally. Al­most all the lines of busi­ness that the com­pany has glob­ally are rep­re­sented here, whether safety and se­cu­rity, loy­alty, ar­chi­tec­ture, an­a­lyt­ics or core pay­ment so­lu­tions. Hund-Me­jean, who was in Pune re­cently, spoke to

about Master­card’s plans for In­dia. Edited ex­cerpts:

What does the In­dia tech­nol­ogy hub fo­cus on? There are a cou­ple of ar­eas. A very crit­i­cal one is in the dig­i­tal arena and Pune is work­ing very closely with our tech hub in Saint Louis and New York to build our dig­i­tal plat­form. That is one of the pre­dom­i­nant things we are do­ing here. That also helps us in a sig­nif­i­cant way to de­velop prod­ucts for In­dia. They can ap­ply their knowl­edge in fig­ur­ing out what is good for this coun­try, es­pe­cially given the gov­ern­ment fo­cus on dig­i­tal pay­ments. Over the last few years, we have in­vested about $750 mil­lion in In­dia and it is a big in­vest­ment for a com­pany of our size. Mar­kets in In­dia are chang­ing and it’s dif­fi­cult for peo­ple out­side to un­der­stand the pain points. The sec­ond big area is so­lu­tions for safety and se­cu­rity. We have been build­ing quite a sig­nif­i­cant busi­ness in that space and ev­ery coun­try is a bit dif­fer­ent so you need a global so­lu­tion which you then cus­tomise for what is hap­pen­ing in each coun­try.

Are there any spe­cific prod­ucts that are be­ing de­vel­oped for In­dia? In­dia is at the heart of what­ever Master­card is do­ing in the dig­i­tal space and we have been work­ing closely with the gov­ern­ment to cre­ate the In­dia QR (Quick Re­sponse) code. We have de­vel­oped a glob­ally in­ter­op­er­a­ble QR stan­dard which will be launched soon and this is a plat­form pro­to­col that’s been de­vel­oped at the Vado­dara cam­pus.

For a mer­chant, this is a cheap and easy way to ac­cept pay­ments. Only 1.5 mil­lion of the 60 mil­lion mer­chants in In­dia cur­rently ac­cept any form of elec­tronic pay­ment. We are also in­vest­ing in a so­lu­tion for fea­ture phones that will be out in the mar­ket soon.

What’s next for Master­card in In­dia? We have just started our next bud­get year and, with de­mon­eti­sa­tion, the team here has told us what they need, and we have been grant­ing ex­tra in­vest­ments to In­dia to help with the op­por­tu­nity. There will be more ex­pan­sion in Pune, not just on the plat­form and tech­ni­cal side, but also our shared ser­vices cen­tre has been ex­panded to le­gal, HR and fran­chise groups. That will be ex­panded, and not just cor­po­rate but also to ar­eas like cus­tomer de­liv­ery. So Pune will at­tract ad­di­tional in­vest­ments in these other things as well.

What kind of work is Master­card do­ing with star­tups? As a com­pany you have to be hum­ble enough to know that you won’t cre­ate ev­ery­thing. It is also about re­duc­ing the time to mar­ket. We have the Start Path where we spon­sor in­vest­ments in very small com­pa­nies that have in­ter­est­ing ideas.

We are also in­vest­ing in ven­ture cap­i­tal funds that are mostly fo­cused on the re­tail or pay­ments in­dus­try. We have seven labs that con­nect in­vestors and we do a lot of work on fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and these labs are very con­nected to com­pa­nies around the world.

We do work with com­pa­nies in In­dia work­ing on tech­nol­ogy con­nected to pay­ments, and are con­stantly scout­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties.

COM­PANY PHOTO

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