Google gangs up with Indian lenders to find new users
Google has teamed up with several Indian banks to offer loans and tap into the nation’s gigantic and juicy digital market.
As reported last year, Google unveiled its mobile payments app Tez (meaning “fast” in Hindi) in India. It was integrated with the state-backed unified payments interface (UPI) – and all part of its ambition to find success on the sub-continent.
Google has now rebranded the app as Google Pay and said it is partnering with four Indian banks, Federal Bank, HDFC, ICICI and Kotak Mahindra – to offer loans to the app’s users.
Tez has over 22 million monthly active users, according to Google.
At an annual Google event in New Delhi, Caesar Sengupta, the vice-president of Google’s Next Billion Users initiative spoke with Reuters.
Sengupta said Google was open to collaborating with other Indian payments firms.
He also said Google has invested $22 million in its KaiOS mobile operating system, as the tech titan targets Africa and parts of South East Asia.
Reuters points out that KaiOS is a low-cost phone operating system which, among others, has been used by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani to sell his Jio telecom venture’s low-cost internet enabled phones.
“Countries like India, which are mobile first have so many people coming online for the first time, just generate an incredible amount of opportunity for innovation,” Sengupta told Reuters.
While Google is exuding the confidence of a Bundesliga football manager, it will have plenty of competition in India – whether lending or payments.
Earlier this month, Paytm was powering on in the payments space with the acquisition of Bengaluru-based savings management start-up Balance Technology.
In March, PayU and Kreditech muscled into India’s lending market with the beta phase launch of PayU Mondeo.