NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Paytm, an Indian online payments platform backed by China’s Alibaba, is pushing deeper into India’s booming e-commerce industry with a zero-commission mobile app marketplace targeted at small and medium-sized firms, the mainstay of the country’s economy.
The company said on Friday this push, in addition to its existing general e-commerce platform, would help marketplace operations make up half of its total revenue target of $4 billion by the end of 2015.
“This is our move into mobile commerce,” said Paytm Chief Executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma, adding the mobile app was designed to connect small businesses and consumers.
Even though only about a quarter of the population can access the Internet, India already has the world’s third-largest population of internet users, thanks to cheap smartphones. That has driven a boom in e-commerce, in a country that had previously shopped largely in informal stalls and bazaars.
Paytm, which has yet to turn a profit, will not charge merchants commission on their sales, making money instead on commissions levied when they transfer money earned out of the site.
Paytm expects to have 100,000 merchants on its app by the end of the year, up from about 33,000 today on their general web platform. It expects to grow the number of stock-keeping units — essentially, units sold — from 8.5 million today to 100 million by the end of the year.