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Amid increasing number of payment portals and fintech startups in India, US-based fintech company Mastercard has announced the launch of its global research and development arm Mastercard Labs in Pune, India. After Singapore, this will be the second Mastercard Labs in Asia-Pacific, and ninth in the world. The initiative aims to bring and harness new commerce, payment and technology ideas at a fast pace in the country.

Speaking of the Mastercard Labs’ India-launch, Ken Moore, EVP, Mastercard Labs said, “Learning, innovation, and collaboration cannot exist in isolation. The launch of the first Mastercard Labs in India is evidence of our commitment to designing solutions that drive commerce and create more inclusive societies around the world.”

Mastercard Labs To Bolster India’s Fintech R&D    

The India Innovation Centre Mastercard Labs will join hands with other financial institutions and merchant partners to identify and ideate futuristic digital payment solutions, to better safety and security. It will also support and work with startups developing next generation, breakthrough commerce solutions through the company’s incubation Start Path programme.

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For the global payments and technology company, Mastercard Labs, India will be a medium to foster collaboration and co-creation with the country’s local academia, fintech experts, technologists and developers. This will help identify and experiment with future technologies and drive new concepts and innovations through incubation, proof of concept, pilot and commercialisation, in order to deliver additional value to consumers and businesses of India.

Tobias Puehse, Vice President, Innovation Management, Digital Payments and Labs, Asia Pacific, Mastercard said, “The Mastercard Labs in India provides a significant opportunity to highlight the country’s standing as a world-class innovation hub, renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit and growing pool of science, technology, engineering and mathematics talent. By establishing the new lab in Pune, we are looking to deepen our active collaborations with governments, issuers and businesses in India and revolutionise the market’s digital payments ecosystem to drive greater acceptance and adoption of electronic payments, not just in India but around the world.”

With smartphones boom, Indian fintech market has accelerated its growth manifolds. Since last year fintech startups like Razorpay and Paytm have registered a minimum 10x growth on account of government initiatives such as demonitisation, and companies like Amazon, Airtel, Ola etc., have also launched their own wallets. Keeping up its shares in the India’s fintech market, Mastercard, earlier this year, co-innovated with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and other payments brands to develop Bharat QR, the world’s first interoperable Quick Response (QR) code acceptance solution, as part of a national push to streamline local electronic payments infrastructure.

Setting up a global fintech innovation centre is another attempt by a global fintech major to tap the rapidly growing market of digital payment in India. This will also contribute to the local startups’ growth via its innovation centre Mastercard Labs and incubation programmes.

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