‘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
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.