The self-confessed black sheep of the family, Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s business crashed after 9/11 and his partner left. Today, Paytm is worth over Rs 9,000 crore, which makes it India’s second most valued Internet-based business enterprise.
Together they have formed a formidable partnership, professional as well as personal, which is expected to triumphantly take on all the other prominent ecommerce players in India.
It all started in 2014 when Jack Ma and Vijay Sharma met for the first time to discuss a possible alliance. Soon the deal was sealed and in February 2015, Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Financial, bought 25 per cent stake by investing nearly $500 million in One97 communications that runs Paytm.
An unidentified official said, “The original plan was for Ma to spend 20 minutes with Sharma as a part of a two-hour interaction Sharma was to have with Alibaba officials. It was the personal chemistry between the two that clinched the deal. There was a discussion on how commerce and payments can come together and how the two platforms of PayTM and Alibaba/Alipay can compliment to scale up.”
Now with AliExpress’s sellers coming to India in August through Paytm, they have entered the second phase of their alliance. Paytm founder said, “Our partnership is helping on three fronts — technology, product and market access.”
Since the deal, long discussion and meetings between the two companies have become a norm. Both the company’s officials fly in and out of India and China to visit each other headquarters and have lengthy discussions about their future moves.
While Alibaba is helping out Paytm to scale up and beat domestic competitors such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. Paytm is enabling Alibaba to win the ongoing global ecommerce war between Alibaba and Amazon. The Chinese ecommerce player is contributing towards technology and product development, whereas Paytm is providing market access.
Rajan Anandan, Vice President & Managing Director – Google South East Asia and India believes, “Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the man to watch out for. The gap among the top three (Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal) has narrowed, while in mobile payments and wallet business, Paytm has left competition way behind.”
Jack Ma is known as a man with great foresight, clear vision, an excellent team player & leader who backs people with superior skills. And they have joined hands with India’s Paytm who themselves support entrepreneurs who have seen the worst and yet emerged as winners. Both the companies are compatible in that sense and we can already see fireworks. Let’s see what this joint venture leads to.