Micromax aims to have 15 million customers doing cashless transactions on its mobile wallet – Udio – within this year. India’s largest home bred smartphone maker will launch phones with the built-in wallet by April end, pegging payments and services as critical cogs in its strategy for future growth.
India’s No. 2 brand has signed a three-way pact with digital payment provider Visa for enabling mobile payments using QR code scans and a PIN at retail stores across the country, and with Mumbai-based payment technology platform provider TranServ, which will offer the mobile wallet.
“We have about 30 million smartphone users who access apps, of which we expect 50 per cent would be using the wallet by the year end,” said Micromax co-founder Vikas jain
“We’re also exploring plans of rolling it (wallet) out in countries like Russia within this year,” he added.
Indian and international brands are facing the heat in the fastest growing smartphone market in the world, given the increasing competition and rapid pace of new companies from China offering smartphones at very affordable prices. New entrants are also sensing this trend early, and some like Le Eco have already started setting up content delivery centers to offer localized content.
Micromax is looking to differentiate from the crowd while creating future growth paths. One of them is the mobile wallet, which the company says will become the underlying or default payment layer to services it offers via the Around Yu platform – the second piece in its strategy.
The company will offer deals to get customers onto the wallet, which can be used for paying for travel, entertainment and car rides available on Around Yu, which will increase customer stickiness.
The company introduced an aggregated services platform called Around Yu – in Yu brand of phones sold by its subsidiary Yu Televentures – which includes services like hospitality, travel, entertainment, music and ecommerce, primarily services from start-ups that Micromax has invested.
The platform will be shipped to all upcoming Micromax smartphones, about 1.5 million sold every month, from April-end.
Micromax is a late entrant in the mobile wallet space, where independent wallet, telco-backed and bank-offered wallets have already established their presence. Players like Paytm, Oxigen, Mobikwik and Freecharge have been aggressively adding customers to their fold.
However Jain said that the handset maker had a captive set of customers who will now be offered the wallet as an add-on, which is where it fares better than other wallet players who have to burn cash to acquire customers.
“We are not looking at inorganic customer base, because we already have them,” he said. Some marketing around the wallet will be done.
The new phones will come with the Udio mobile wallet app and a physical Udio card to make physical or online transactions at over 100,000 mVisa enabled stores across the country. Visa has already started the pilot for mobile transactions at over 5,000 retailers in Bangalore. Visa, TranServ and Micromax get a three-way split of revenues from the transactions, but they did not divulge the individual percentages.
For existing Micromax users, the company will enable Around Yu services via software updates over the next two months. Using the service, customers will be able to make seamless payments online, on social media apps, payments to personal contacts, and in the future payments in physical locations through near-field communications (NFC).
The wallet will allow consumers to shop using a Visa card number linked to the Udio wallet, wherever Visa is accepted, thereby making the same money available for both for the online and offline payment acceptance.
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