In India, the effort to bring more business to local firms has Big Tech in its crosshairs.
And perhaps strengthen the country’s burgeoning eCommerce ecosystem in the process.
The battleground is a sizable one, and has the tailwinds of a digital shift — where the groundwork was laid well before the pandemic.
Demonetization is now nearly four years old. And in an interview with Karen Webster, Paytm President Madhur Deora said the government-mandated push to move away from cash, the pandemic and the continued growth of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) have fostered an ever-growing embrace of digital payments.
“Compared to where we were around the time of demonetization, in terms of scale, we are probably 15 times bigger than we were then,” he said. “That's not too bad.”
As India’s consumers and businesses have pivoted to eCommerce, at least several members of the tech community want to see more activity benefiting home-grown entities. Paytm is among them.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday (Oct. 1), the founders of dozens of tech firms housed in India held a Zoom call aimed at setting the wheels in motion to form what’s being billed as a “startup collective” to battle Big Tech — Google and Facebook, among others — across a number of fronts.
The call took place on Tuesday (Sept. 29), according to reports, and involved more than 50 tech firm founders. Discussion topics ranged from establishing alternatives to Alphabet’s Google Play Store to pushing for other digital policies promoted within India. The organization’s roster may extend well beyond the Zoom call, and as noted by sites such as TechCrunch, may number more than 150 firms.
Names being considered for the collective include the India Internet Foundation, among others.
The movement comes on the heels of Google’s announcement that it will charge 30 percent fees for payments through apps for online services that include dating and education. Android has 95 percent market share in the country.
At a high level, the push to form a collective hearkens back to the Modi government’s efforts to spur consumers to “buy local” and to be “vocal about local.” Global companies (not based in India) have held dominance across any number of markets, such as smartphones and televisions (90 percent share) and in cosmetics and other consumer staples. Elsewhere as PYMNTS reported Thursday, Amazon recently invested $152 million into its Amazon Seller Services unit in India.