Business Standard

‘In three to four years, we will be numero uno in e-commerce ’

- Paytm founder VIJAY SHEKHAR SHARMA

Since the government’s demonetisa­tion move a year ago, a lot has changed for Paytm, which now commands a 58 per cent mobile wallet market share. One97 Communicat­ions, Paytm’s parent, has launched two new entities — e-commerce firm Paytm Mall and Paytm Payments Bank — in the past one year. Paytm founder VIJAY SHEKHAR SHARMA tells Karan Choudhury that the company will be the top player in e-commerce in the next few years, ahead of the likes of Amazon and Flipkart. Edited excerpts: What has changed for you in the past one year? Personally for me, from being a fledgling startup, we have gained an incredible amount of traction. Now, we understand the immense scale and possibilit­y there is in India. Paytm has moved beyond just being a wallet to a full-blown financial services provider with our payments bank. But, if one goes by the numbers, digital transactio­ns have plateaued. No secret about that. We knew that once cash started coming back (after demonetisa­tion), the number (of digital transactio­ns) would go down. But the good thing is that the numbers have not fallen to the pre-demonetisa­tion levels. Why have you been slow on the expansion of Paytm Payments Bank? The reason is that we are yet to launch it formally. Right now, it is in the beta phase. We have tens of millions of users and, by 2020, we believe that our target of 500 million will be achieved. We plan to start 100,000 banking points as well.

How serious a contender is Paytm Mall to the likes of Amazon and Flipkart?

People need to understand that this is a five- to ten-year-long battle for supremacy. We are here for a long haul. But rest assured, we will achieve the numero uno status in e-commerce in the next three to four years. It is not a billions — versus-billions fight. Our business model is far more superior, and, anyway, a single monolith retail model would not survive for long. What is your profitabil­ity target? What is the gross merchandis­e value (GMV) that you are targeting? We are still trying to reach out to a large consumer base. We are spreading ourselves. But, by the end of this financial year, the overall GMV of the company would be ~1 lakh crore. Which are the partnershi­ps and acquisitio­ns you are planning? There have been talks of you buying out an e-grocery player. We are a builder of companies and do not just believe in acquisitio­ns. Yes, we are in talks with various players on partnershi­ps, though.

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