#Asia Spoiling for a fight, Paytm makes another acquisition

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Photo Credit Michael Coghlan

Photo Credit Michael Coghlan

Snapdeal and Flipkart had better beware, Paytm is fast stomping onto their turf. The Indian shopping and epayments app has just stepped up its game in the online-to-offline (O2O) space with the acquisition of a hyperlocal services provider.

Paytm has picked up online home services provider Near.in in a cash and stock deal estimated to be between US$1.5 million and US$2 million, the Economic Times reported today. This is Paytm’s first acquisition since Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial committed US$680 million in funding to the Noida-based startup three months ago.

Paytm has set its sights on India’s ecommerce market, which is currently dominated by the likes of Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon. It was founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in 2010.

Why hyperlocal?

Photo Credit Bhupinder Nayyar

Photo Credit Bhupinder Nayyar

Gurgaon-based Near.in was founded in 2014 by Lomesh Dutta, Sunil Goyal and Akshay Khanna.

Near.in offers home services in over 100 categories, so users can get professionals like electricians, microwave repairmen, and even people to assist with securing a passport at the click of a button.

It is a good fit for Paytm as O2O is one of its focus areas. “Local commerce has massive potential in India, and this acquisition will help us grow the business,” Kiran Vasireddy, senior vice-president and head of investments for Paytm, was quoted as saying in the Economic Times.

Earlier this year Paytm put US$8 million into Jugnoo, India’s Uber for autorickshaws.

Paytm is a payment processor targeting India’s mobile shoppers. Its online wallet feature has 100 million active users. Users carry out 75 million transactions every month.

Paytm has already established a hold on the mobile credit top-ups and payments market where it is facing competition from Snapdeal-owned Freecharge. It is moving from a digital payments focus to mobile commerce, which is growing by leaps and bounds in India. Around three-quarters of the 402 million internet users in the country get online only through mobile devices.

Source: Economic Times

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