Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The future of commerce in India - the Mobile way?

(Originally published on my w2forum journal on 22nd aug 2006)

India seems to be abuzz with new m-commerce initiatives. There have been a few news items recently:

- NGPay an offering from JiGrahak got $2.2 million from Helion Venture...

- PayMate India got around $5 million from Sherpalo Ventures and Kleiner...

- mChq a VERY old time entrant, though I wonder why it is not so prevalnt.

- Atom Just found it today.

A few Qs:

1. Is this a trend unique to India?

The reason I ask this is to understand whether the cultural uniquenesss of India has anything to do with it. Unlike in US or Europe, Indians are known to live on their savings rather than on credit. Also India appears to be much more 'mobile savvy'. So what investors might see is a sizeable chunk of a 111 million (current subscriber base) strong potential mobile payment users! - Sounds good and sounds easier to reach than the same number of credit card users.

2. Is anyone really addressing / is concerned about the security and audit aspects of these transactions?

3. What happened to / could anyone throw a light on how PayPal's mobile payment service is doing?

4. And finally - is the future of commercial transactions going to be mobile? Will the mobile be the sole wallet that people will carry around?

Going by these trends, I think countries like India are well poised to use m-commerce in a significant way unless some disrupting technology comes along to challenge it.

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