24 Aug

Why Is Expansion into India a Big Deal for PayPal?

WRITTEN BY Neha Gupta

India’s digital payment market has become a big focus for PayPal (PYPL) as the company pursues more growth opportunities. In an August 14 interview with the Financial Times, PayPal CTO Sri Shivananda left no doubt that PayPal will do everything within its means to grow its presence in India. “India is critically important,” Shivananda stated. “We look at regions and then there are countries of importance . . . India currently is an area of focus.”

PayPal is looking at simplifying its payment service, expanding its workforce, and making strategic acquisitions to expand in India, according to the Financial Times report.

What is so exciting about India is that PayPal wants to pull out all the stops to grow its presence there. The answer may lie in the vast growth potential in India’s digital payment market. According to the Economic Times, Credit Suisse estimates that India’s digital payment market is worth about $200 billion. However, estimates indicate that India’s digital payment market is expected to explode in the next few years and could reach $1 trillion by 2023.

Alibaba and Walmart active in India’s digital payments market

PayPal isn’t the only global conglomerate pursuing the massive revenue opportunity in India’s digital payments market. Alibaba, Walmart, Amazon, and Google also are in the race.

Alibaba (BABA) backs Paytm, one of India’s leading digital payment providers. Paytm also counts SoftBank and Berkshire Hathaway among its backers. Last year, Berkshire Hathaway invested more than $350 million to purchase a stake in Paytm, Reuters reported.

Walmart (WMT) participates in India’s digital payment market through Flipkart, which runs a mobile payment service called PhonePe. Walmart invested $16 billion to purchase a 77% stake in Flipkart, one of India’s leading e-commerce providers.

Google (GOOGL) and Amazon (AMZN) provide digital payment services in India under their Tez and Amazon Pay brands, respectively. Google launched Tez in 2017 as an India-specific mobile payment service. PayPal began domestic operations in India in November 2017, a few months after Google’s Tez launched there.

Presently, Alibaba and Walmart stand out as PayPal’s most significant obstacles in India, as their services dominate India’s digital payments market.

International markets fueling PayPal’s growth

PayPal’s international revenue, comprising sales from markets like India, grew 18% year-over-year to $2 billion in the second quarter. However, PayPal still relies on its domestic US market for the majority of its revenue. In the second quarter, PayPal derived 47% of its revenue from international markets and 53% from the US market.

However, PayPal’s international business is growing faster than its domestic business. PayPal’s domestic US revenue increased only 7.0% year-over-year in the second quarter.

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