By Sankalp PhartiyalMUMBAI, June 20 (Reuters) - Indian instant messaging
platform Hike rolled out an in-app electronic payments wallet on
Tuesday in a bid to cash in on rising digital transactions,
replicating similar services offered by its backer Tencent
Holdings <0700.HK> in China.
E-payments have surged in India since a shock ban of
high-value bank notes in November last year. Providers such as
Paytm, backed by Alibaba <BABA.N> and SoftBank Group <9984.T>,
have rapidly increased their share of the market amid
predictions it will jump nearly 10 times to $500 billion by
Hike's wallet, however, is the first such service by a
messaging platform in the country and comes ahead of a possible
launch of a payment facility by Facebook <FB.O>-owned WhatsApp
later this year. [nL2N1HC081]
Hike said its wallet will allow instant money transfer among
its clients and enable fund transfer to banks using the
government-backed United Payments Interface (UPI) system.
The startup has been looking at Tencent's WeChat services in
China and finding ways to adapt them to India's digital payments
market, said Hike Chief Executive Kavin Mittal.
"For sure we talk to Tencent quite often, we are inspired by
them and it's great to have them as a partner," Mittal told
Reuters in an interview.
Hike has partnered Indian private sector lender Yes Bank
<YESB.NS> to facilitate money transfers to banks using the UPI
system, Mittal said.
Besides mobile phone bill payments and traditional
wallet-to-wallet transfers, Hike will also allow its users to
send "blue packets" or envelopes containing digital money to
friends, a feature borrowed from WeChat's "red packets".
Hike, part of India'sBharti Enterprises, says it has more
than 100 million registered users.
It was launched in December 2012, and has raised over $260
million from investors including Tiger Global, Tencent and
Bharti SoftBank - a joint venture between Japan'sSoftBank and
Headed by Mittal's father, billionaire Sunil Mittal, Bharti
Enterprises' businesses include top Indian mobile carrier Bharti
Airtel <BRTI.NS> and joint ventures in insurance and renewable.
Paytm is India's biggest electronic wallets provider with
225 million clients. Swedish communications app Truecaller,
which has a large user base in India, also started a mobile
payment service in the country this year based on the UPI
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Devidutta Tripathy
and Himani Sarkar)
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Keywords: HIKEMESSENGER PAYMENTS/ (PIX)