Paytm to compete against WhatsApp, launch in-app chat messenger soon


In order to create a one-stop place for its users, India’s mobile-payment firm Paytm is planning to launch chat services into its app.

Paytm’s messaging feature will allow people to share text, video and images for free. The service is slated to be launched within fortnight, said sources close to the development.

Mobile wallet firm aims to cash in its 225 million users by allowing them to communicate seamlessly within its network. Paytm plans to convert its payment users to messaging and help businesses connect with consumers.

Entrackr queries to Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma did not elicit any response till the publication of this report.

Paytm wants to be one-stop place for its users, offering not just payments but also an e-commerce platform, investment options in digital gold as well as booking services. This is time and again imphasized by its founder. It also recently launched its payment bank.

The move to launch messaging functionality is inspired by China messaging app WeChat, which began as chat app and later added payment on its platform. Paytm also aims to be leader in the Indian market, not letting western company, like Facebook-owned Whatsapp to win the market.

In 2015, Paytm had appointed Ruchi Sanghvi, Facebook’s first woman engineer, Neeraj Arora, former WhatsApp global business head, to its board.

Recommended read: Flipkart follows WeChat model, to launch one app for everything

Home-grown marketplace Flipkart is also reported to have adopted similar approach. Entrackr had reported about Flipkart plan to launch all-in-one model app. However, e-tailer had unhappy ending  in its attempt with in-app chat service called Ping, which closed down the service ten months after launching it.

At present, WhatsApp claims to have more than 200 million users in India. The firm is reported to be in the last leg of launching its payment option. Another player in messaging space, Hike, has about 100 million users. It is backed by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. and in June introduced a payments feature. Amazon is also testing its all-in-one messaging app Anytime

In May 2017, Paytm raised $1.4 billion from SoftBank Corp at a valuation of $7 billion, making the company one of the most valued unicorns in the country after Flipkart, which valued at $11 billion.


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