BharatPe displays 'Indian' tag, dares Paytm, PhonePe

(This story originally appeared in on Sep 03, 2020)

There is a full-blown fight among India’s leading digital payments firms over which is a more “Indian” product, with the matter now reaching the RBI.

BharatPe, a merchant payments startup, has been distributing flyers and pamphlets showing Paytm with Chinese flags and PhonePe with US flags, implying it’s the only ‘Bharatiya’ or ‘Indian’ company.

There is a similar messaging around Amazon Pay and Google Pay too as they are owned by US-headquartered multinational giants. In fact, images on its app, reviewed by TOI, show BharatPe indirectly implying that Paytm is a Chinese company with the clarion call of ‘Swadeshi Apnao, Videshi Hatao’. The move comes at a time when anti-China sentiments are again on the rise amid the recent border conflict. In fact, the Indian government banned another 118 Chinese apps on Wednesday, including popular game PUBG.

BharatPe’s action has incensed rivals, especially Paytm and PhonePe, as they compete more directly than others like Amazon and Google Pay. Sources confirmed one of the companies has sent a complaint against BharatPe to the RBI over the issue.

BharatPe co-founder and CEO Ashneer Grover told TOI why shouldn’t he showcase the “Indian identity” and that BharatPe’s comments in its campaign on others are based on the “large strategic shareholding” of the rest of the players. BharatPe founders hold over 30% stake in the firm, including staff shares.

The direct swipe at “strategic shareholding” is aimed at Paytm, where China’s Alibaba Group along with affiliate Ant Group hold about 40% stake. For PhonePe, it’s being called American in BharatPe campaigns due to its parent firm Flipkart being majority owned by US-based Walmart. Both Paytm and PhonPe are run by Indian founders Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Sameer Nigam, respectively.

“At a time when the government is calling out for Indian innovation and apps, why shouldn’t we showcase our ‘Indian’ identity? And through our campaign we aim to achieve just that. Our aim is to portray BharatPe as an Indian company and what we have mentioned in the pamphlets is just that on the basis of our understanding of the largest strategic shareholding of all the companies,” Grover told TOI.

He added the Sequoia Capital-backed startup takes pride in its Indianness and that it also redesigned its QR code to add the Indian tricolour. Paytm and PhonePe declined to comment, while an email sent to the RBI did not elicit any response.

“They have reported the matter to the RBI. This has caught the attention of the rivals over the last one week and may damage perception among merchants, when all firms are expanding to on-board them,” a person aware of the matter said. PhonePe has announced it aims to more than double its merchant base to 25 million in the next 12 months.

“Other players are also free to run campaigns to showcase their Indian heritage,” added Grover.

BharatPe displays 'Indian' tag, dares Paytm, PhonePe BharatPe displays 'Indian' tag, dares Paytm, PhonePe Reviewed by TechCO on 9/04/2020 Rating: 5

No comments:

ads 728x90 B
Powered by Blogger.