Exclusive: PayPal to launch domestic services in India in a year says India Strategic alignment & Planning head

In India, PayPal will have to “reverse engineer” to build products and functions as most mobile phones are function phones and far outstrips the potential to enable e-commerce or smartphones based payment methods.
Dhruv Sawhney, Director, Entreprise Product, Global Operational Excellence, PayPal

Electronic payments provider PayPal will launch domestic services for Indian merchants in about a years time, a top company executive told NBW on Friday.

“We are going to launch in India market in a big way in a year or so,” Dhruv Sawhney who heads strategic alignment and planning for PayPal India said.

Until now, PayPal could only offer a way for Indian merchants to receive payments from abroad. However, when it launches full fledged services in India, the company will enable electronic payments between merchants and consumers.

“Internally, it would take us about 6-8 months to adapt to the local market and get the technology ready,” he added Sawhney, Director, Enterprise Product Global Operational Excellence. He moved to India from Ireland about 6 months ago when PayPal said that it will hire about 1000 people in Bangalore to build products for the company.

In India, PayPal will have to “reverse engineer” to build products and functions as most mobile phones are function phones and their numbers far outstrip the number of web or smartphones based payment methods.

“These phones are much cheaper and accessible. There will be new business cases and opportunities, and the company has begun investing into research, he added. “IIT Chennai has taken up some research work for us,”  he said adding that the company will hire about 1,000 people in Bangalore over 2-3 years.

Paypal and its parent company eBay have been making slow progress in India over the last few years. Last year, India’s central bank allowed exporters to receive up to $3000 for goods and services to their PayPal account. This was an improvement from the earlier $500 limit cap.

The payment services provider has also been acquiring mobile payment startups like Zong and Card.io to increase its reach. Zong enables payments through carrier billing. India has over 900 million mobile subscriptions and is one of the largest mobile market in the world.

In April this year, the company signed an agreement with the Federation of Indian Export Organisations under the Ministry of Commerce to promote retail cross border exports through e-commerce in India. In other words, Indian retail exporters could buy or sell on foreign e-commerce sites using a PayPal account.

A couple of months ago, Facebook started accepting payments made through mobile phones in India in exchange of credits using Zong, a PayPal service.

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