India’s instant messaging platform and so called unicorn packet, Hike has launched payment wallet on Tuesday. The messenger app brands it as Blue Packets, Country’s first messaging wallet app.
The concept of a Blue Packet is similar to Tencent- owned WeChat’s electronic red packets, which represent the traditional practice of giving red packets filled with cash during the Spring Festival of China. The Hike 5.0 app will roll out by Sunday on Android, iOS.
— hike (@hikeapp) June 20, 2017
The latest version of hike wallet has several features, including a linkage to the government-backed unified payments interface (UPI) that allows free and instant bank-to-bank money transfer, even if the recipient does not use the Hike app. Users can also use this wallet to recharge prepaid phones and pay post-paid bills from within the app.
While Whatsapp, owned by Facebook, has been preparing to enter into digital payment sector in India, Hike has managed to take the lead. This move will give Hike an edge over the rival Whatsapp.
UPI launched by National Payments Corporation of India in August last year is a government-managed framework that allows third-party apps and platforms to build peer-to-peer cashless payment networks over it.
Online payment gained popularity in India after government banned high-value currency in Nov 2016. The decision led in rapid growth of home grown wallet backed by Alibaba and Softbank, Paytm. The market share of Paytm went up and is predicted to jump close to 10 times to $500 billion by 2020.
Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder of Hike said, “Some of the features we talked about in payments today have been inspired by Tencent and China. No doubt about that.” He also added, “We talk to them very often, we visited their offices multiple times to get a sense of what’s happened in the last six to seven years in China.”
According to Mittal, It’s a very important thing because we still believe India’s about four to five years behind China. Hike has partnered with Indian private sector lender Yes Bank to facilitate money transfers to banks using the UPI system.
Hike was launched in December 2012 by Mittal, and has raised over $260 million from investors including Tiger Global, Tencent and Bharti SoftBank – a joint venture between Japan’s SoftBank and Bharti Enterprises.