India’s rising mobile money star, Paytm, is to launch a messenger function, reversing a trend for messaging firms to add a payments capability to their basic function.
According to Economic Times, the new function will enable buyers to chat with sellers ahead of making a purchase. Paytm will launch it in the autumn.
“In China, everyone is talking to customers and merchants before they shop. We probably need to bring this to India, where consumers can bargain with the merchant,” said the firm’s founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
China’s WeChat started life as a chat app before offering payment capabilities and then mobile commerce, where buyers and sellers chat before closing any transaction.
Patym, whose shareholders include Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, launched as a mobile wallet last year and then debuted a marketplace in April this year. It has also just won one of eleven payments bank licences awarded by the country’s Reserve Bank of India.
“We are probably going to put the messenger in the centre space. We will also add features of all other social networks to be integrated, and some more card-based infrastructure where you can share deals,” Sharma added.