SoftBank-backed Paytm plans to invest up to $2.5 billion to grow its nascent online shopping portal business within 3-5 years as it eyes top spot by beating Flipkart and Amazon, its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said.
Paytm E-commerce Pvt Ltd, which operates an online shopping portal for digital and physical goods, is latest to enter the e-commerce space where rivals Amazon and Flipkart are pouring in billions of dollars to boost market share.
In an interview to PTI, Sharma, 38, exuded confidence that Paytm’s e-commerce unit – Paytm Mall – has a “real good shot” at reaching the top spot even though online shopping business, as such, is a long-term bet and certainly “not for the faint-hearted”.
“This is a marathon. It is absolutely not about this month’s number versus next,” said Sharma, who sees the e-commerce business as booming, but long gestation. “As the e-commerce business, we started six months ago and we are nearly half of the large companies. It has grown so fabulously well that we believe that we have a real good shot in the longer horizon, in 3-5 years, of (reaching) the top spot,” he said.
The e-commerce business in India has grown at a phenomenal pace with two giants US-based Amazon and homegrown Flipkart battling it out for the leadership of the market. Jeff Bezos — world’s richest man — has committed $5 billion investment into Amazon India, which he believes is a key market. Flipkart, on the other hand, had received $2.5 billion from SoftBank and Tencent earlier this year.
Sharma, who shot to fame after Paytm’s mobile wallet became a household name following the government’s demonetisation drive in November 2016, has since entered the business of Payments Bank as well as e-commerce. Asked about the investments that would be infused into the Paytm’s e-commerce business, Sharma said: “It will at least be 2-2.5 billion dollars”.