Google likely to launch payment app ‘Tez’ in India next week
New Delhi: Google India is all set to launch a new payment app called ‘Tez’ (Hindi for fast), as reported first on Thursday by news portal The Ken.
The app will likely be launched at a press conference on 18 September in New Delhi by Caesar Sengupta, vice-president, Next Billion Users, Google. When asked about the report, Google India replied: “Because fast is better than slow. See you on Monday (18 September).”
The new product, developed ground-up specially for the Indian market, is aimed at the rapidly growing digital payment market in India which is expected to touch $500 billion by 2020, according to a report by GSMA and Boston Consulting Group.
Tez is a multi-layered app, according to The Ken, that will offer a comprehensive set of payment options in India. It will include support for Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a single-window mobile payment system launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) as well as other consumer payment services, including Paytm and MobiKwik. It will, according to The Ken report, be available both on the desktop, as a Chrome widget, and will be rolled out as an app on Google’s Play Store or will be pre-installed on the operating system and introduced as part of future updates to the operating system.
The UPI-based service will be integrated into other applications, including e-commerce, mobility, over-the-top apps and Google’s own suite of apps, Play Music/Movies (for subscriptions) and Play Store (for paid downloads), reports The Ken.
Globally, Google has had only limited success with its mobile payment systems. Two years ago the company launched Android Pay following the failure of its earlier product Google Wallet, which despite being a pioneer among phone technology providers, couldn’t garner enough users. Android Pay, which was launched in 2015, still has only a quarter of the number of users that Apple Pay does, according to 2017 research by Juniper. In fact, Apple tops the charts with its digital wallet, and is expected to nearly double Apple Pay user base this year. Juniper estimates that Apple Pay will hit 86 million users in 2017 globally, up from 45 million in 2016.
Google’s entry into payments comes at a time when India’s digital payments ecosystem is burgeoning. With a 57% market share, Alibaba-backed Paytm currently dominates in a market crowded with several mobile wallet players such as Tencent-backed Hike Messenger, MobiKwik, FreeCharge, Oxigen, Citrus Pay, Phone Pe, PayU, ItzCash, Jio Money and Ola Money. Even global companies like Truecaller and Uber have entered the payment space in India with Facebook-owned WhatsApp working to grab a slice of India’s growing mobile wallet pie.
In such a scenario, it may just be the right time for Google to launch Tez. Apart from the potential for top-line growth, entering India’s mobile wallet space could also give Google greater access to far more user data, something it thrives on. Add to this is the fact that Android dominates India’s smartphone market with a huge market share of 97%, which means nine in 10 smartphones sold in India are Android-based.
Google has been spending its resources and launching new products and programmes to target “the next billion” internet users that include the rail WiFi programme and data-optimized apps like YouTube Go. Launching Tez is a logical step in that direction.