Riding high on cash back and reward offers, Google’s Tez, a UPI-based digital payment app has registered almost 7.5 Mn downloads in the 40 days since its launch, informed the company CEO Sundar Pichai while speaking at a quarterly investors’ meet. While the app could not break the Indian government-backed BHIM’s record i.e. 10 Mn downloads in 10 days of its launch, with 7.5 Mn downloads, Tez is quietly shifting the digital payment equation in India, posing some serious existential threat to Paytm, Flipkart’s PhonePe, and Axis Bank’s Freecharge.
While addressing the investors, Pichai reaffirmed his commitment to India and Asia markets. He stated, “We see a way to look at these markets with a lot more thought and address them for the opportunity that they have, not just apply our global products there. So I think that’s what led us to do Google Tez in India. And we’ll thoughtfully look at the opportunities in that region and invest a lot in the years ahead.”
Why Google Preferred To Launch Tez Not Android Pay?
Google has been present in the digital payment market since 2011. Initially, launched as Google Wallet, it got replaced by Android Pay in 2015, to counter Apple Pay success. While Google’s e-wallet Android Pay has been already launched in leading countries across the world, in India, Google came up with a customized solution Tez, postponing Android Pay launch in the country.
Android Pay is heavily dependent on Near Field Communication (NFC) facilities that the e-wallet use while transacting. In India, as most of the smartphones belong to the lower-midrange categories lacking NFC, it was impossible for Google to penetrate a larger market base through Android Pay. Also, Android Pay uses credit card links for the transaction. Which poses another hurdle as credit card use is very low in India, limited to 25 Mn users out of 1.3 Bn people residing in the country.
As the central government launched UPI payment platform, an interface currently backed by 50 banks, Google finally had a way to penetrate the 500 Bn (by 2020) Indian digital payment Industry.