Ecommerce giant Amazon has invested further in its wallet business. As per regulatory filings with the Registrar of Companies (ROC), the company has poured in about $10.45 Mn (INR 67 Cr) in Amazon Online Distribution Services, through its Singapore unit Amazon Capital Holdings and Amazon.com Inc. Ltd, Mauritius.
Out of the total investment, the Mauritius unit has only invested INR 66,930 (approximately INR 67,000). The remaining funding (over 99%) came from the Singapore unit. With this move, the company has also renamed Amazon Online Distribution Services Pvt. Ltd as Amazon Pay (India) Pvt. Ltd.
In March 2017, the Indian arm ecommerce giant managed to secure a licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to operate a prepaid payment instrument (PPI).
At the time of acquiring the license, Sriram Jagannathan, Vice President, Payments, Amazon India told Inc42, “Our focus is providing customers with a convenient and trusted cashless payments experience. RBI is in the process of finalising the guidelines for PPIs. We look forward to seeing a continuation of the low-limit wallet dispensation with simplified KYC and authentication.”
Amazon Wallet Journey
The ecommerce giant began attempting to enter the Indian fintech space in December 2014, with an investment of about $10 Mn in Bengaluru-based gift card technology and retail startup QwikCilver Solutions. QwikCliver powered the e-gift cards for transactions on the ecommerce marketplace. As of now, it has also merged e-gift cards into Amazon Pay.
In February 2016, it hired former Citi banker Sriraman Jagannathan to head its payments business, to spearhead the launch of the digital wallet. This was followed by the acquisition of Noida-based payment gateway EMVANTAGE Payments. The company had applied for a semi-closed wallet license with the RBI in March 2016, which it received a year later.
The company launched Amazon Pay Balance in December 2016, a payment option similar to how mobile wallets work but limited to Amazon-based transactions.
From ecommerce to entertainment to food to wallets, the company is leaving no stone unturned to penetrate the Indian market. Earlier in September 2016, it infused $17 Mn in its Indian wholesale arm to increase the transaction of smartphones via its B2B portal, in compliance with the revised FDI norms.
In April 2017, CEO Jeff Bezos said that the ecommerce giant’s Indian arm is the country’s most popular marketplace during a post-result interaction, indicating the company’s intention to keep fuelling Indian investment.
Earlier today it was reported that ecommerce and payments platform Paytm will roll out its payments bank on May 23, 2017. Instant Messaging app WhatsApp is expected to launch a P2P payment system in India. Apart from this, the wallet will compete with Flipkart acquired UPI-enabled PhonePe; mobile payment service ‘Truecaller Pay’, FreeCharge, Mobikwik, among others.
The development was first reported by ET.