As the latest scandal to hit Paytm ripples across the media (the CEO’s PA might have tried to extort Rs 20 crores from him or, depending on which story you believe, she might be the victim of other vested interests working in the firm), this story summarises the other scandals to have hit the firm recently (the CEO’s brother offered to help a powerful Far Right organisation spread religious propaganda and prior to that a Board member was fired for sexual misconduct). Even more interestingly, the story details how just how extensive a set of competitors Paytm has taken on.
For example, in payments – its flagship business – it is up against Google, Whatsapp, Phonepay and Mobikwick. In ecommerce, it is up against Amazon and Flipkart. Its travel is up against Makemytrip and Yatra. Barring payments, in almost every segment that Paytm operates in, it is behind its competitors (most of whom are specialist “vertical” players. Unsurprisingly therefore, the article ends on a sober note:
“Paytm, is the arrowhead of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in India. The cost of missing the India opportunity will be far too great for Alibaba. So it may yet survive minor scandals at a personal level.
But as Paytm— which has seen a turn of good fortune since it moved away from being a value-added services player in the telecom era to a mobile payments juggernaut— runs afoul of regulators, launches new business at breakneck speed, shuts older ones, and battles competitors in nearly every business it has gone into and takes more than a few tumbles along the way, Sharma’s beliefs will be called into question.”
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