Opinion

VSS, fretting against Whatsapp won't help: this 'foreign invasion' is different!
Sree Vijaykumar
Sree Vijaykumar
From the Editor's Desk

Vijay Shekhar Sharma of PayTM seems a disturbed man. His recent protests (and those of some in the Indian venture ecosystem) against Whatsapp adding payments as a feature for Indian users reflects the scary reality that PayTm has a chance of getting disrupted soon. Flipkart's PhonePe and even Google's Tez did not attract such attention because of something called 'user acquisition'. Each player had to invest in the slow and painful process of acquiring users, the way PayTM did. With the Indian Whatsapp user (and the key point is that there are already 200 million of them) spending more than 50 minutes a day on it, getting them to use a possibly frictionless payment option might just sound the death knell for PayTM. To begin with, it's still person-to-person, but merchants will eventually get access and you could be making most of your digital payments through Whatsapp. This is exactly what WeChat enables in China. While China chose to keep foreign internet companies out, it's too late for India to go down that path. While the rejection of Facebook's Free Basics had a sound idealogical basis (net neutrality), VSS is unlikely to find too much public support for this 'foreign invasion'

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