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For us, the real competition in India is cash, says PayPal

Digital transactions have seen a dramatic increase in India in the past year due to push from both government and the private sectors. This has encouraged PayPal to intensify its operations in India.

According to Google-Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study, Indian digital payments industry will grow to $500 billion by 2020, contributing to 15% of GDP.

The Drum spoke with PayPal's spokesperson to find out about its marketing strategy in India. Given that it's not the only one to take advantage of this opportunity, the business will need to stand out from the crowd.

The spokesperson says: "PayPal, with its presence across 200 markets, has a deep understanding of what the end consumer needs. In India, we have observed that both marketing and customer acquisition is driven through a holistic product offering."

"Our focus across the globe is that of becoming a customer champion. In India we are bringing to the consumer a single PayPal account for their domestic and international transactions and enabling digital transactions in a safe and secure manner. We have localized the product for India and will focus on educating consumers, understanding their needs and in the process, empowering them with our world class digital payment solutions. We are focused on building a sustainable model and offering value to our customers via innovative solutions beyond payments with a strong focus on risk and security."

PayPal recently entered into competition with Paytm, Google, Hike and WhatsApp as it added digital payments to its portfolio in India to leverage the government's 'Digital India' initiative.

According to the spokesperson, PayPal entered India with a strong domestic value proposition, and a clear road map to enable the Indian customer to benefit from its global experience and products.

PayPal adds: "We believe the opportunity here is still untapped, with almost 85% of transactions still being in cash. India is in its first phase of digitizing payments. We have been in India for close to a decade, facilitating cross-border transactions. Launching domestic operations in a market where the digital payments opportunity is on a growth trajectory seemed the logical next step."

As to how PayPal keeps up with the competition, the spokesperson replies: "For us, the real competition in India is cash. There has been significant policy impetus and a shift in consumer mind-set towards digital payments but the run way is long."

"Our global technological expertise and experience of managing more than about 218 million active users in over 200 markets is one of our key differentiator. Our strength lies in our platform- scalable two-sided platform and network with customer focused product experiences which is our unmatched USP. We are focussed on enabling digital payments in a safe and secure manner and offer unique value propositions like Buyer and Seller Protection."

PayPal also introduced two technology Innovation Labs in India to promote innovation and nurture fintech startups. The spokesperson says that PayPal considers India to be a hotbed for innovation given its enormous talent pool, evolving startup ecosystem and a diverse spectrum of merchant profiles. PayPal's Innovation Labs were set up as one of the ways to cater to their needs.

"From our Incubator program to Recharge, we are constantly looking for new ways to serve the ecosystem we operate in and we will continue to do this at every step of our journey in India.PayPal is in a unique position such that it is not just an agnostic payments platform. It is also a gateway, a merchant account, a payment method, a digital wallet and a payment processor to both consumers and merchants."

"It is every single one of these things, integrated end-to-end in a platform that delivers more seamless commerce in a hyper-connected world. Given this wide spectrum, we believe we have a lot of opportunities to positively impact the lives of our consumers and stakeholders at different facets of their lives."

PayPal has also partnered with Bookmyshow, Yatra, MakeMyTrip, PVR Cinemas, Firstcry, Vistarooms and Thomas Cook to strengthen its presence within the travel and tourism sector. Creating partnerships is another way the business can gain the attention fo consumers in a market where both cash and competitors are taking up customer mindshare.