In addition to the financial services range in India, Amazon.com Inc. has launched insurance and even jewellery to broaden the client base and draw more customers to its Prime Loyalty Scheme in a competitive growth market.
The push builds up the competition as rivals of financial technology (fin-tech) and their deep-pocketed global investors struggle for survival in a largely cash-based economy where over 190 million adults have no bank accounts.
In 2016 Amazon launched its Amazon Pay digital wallet to boost online payments. Since then, it has created a credit card, given access to a state-backed payment network, and processes payments for film and flight tickets, telephone and service charges as well. It started offering auto insurance in July, and August gold investment products – both a first for Amazon.
Its US fin-tech attempts were moderate in contrast, partly stifled by the merchant’s refusal to use the technology provided by their biggest retail competitor.
However, Amazon is best positioned in India, where it has more than 100 million existing customers, to use financial resources to lure subscribers to its annual $13 Prime bundle that allows for faster shipping and free music and video, tech executives have said. To that end, the company wants to make Amazon Pay the nation’s preferred payment platform, said Mahendra Nerurkar, head of India’s Amazon Pay, which has signed up to 4 million merchants.
The Indian digital payment market is projected to nearly double by 2023 to $135 billion, a study disclosed by PwC, a professional services firm, and ASSOCHAM, an Indian advocacy organisation. Subsequent prospective applicants faced tighter regulatory oversight. For more than two years, Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp, which has more than 400 million users in India, has been pending clearance to provide payment services as regulators grapple with new regulations for data localization.
In fact, profit margins are usually slim in the digital payments market, so Amazon will have to depend on services such as banking and insurance to make profits, market analysts said.
“Winning the Indian fin-tech market won’t be easy,” said an individual, because of a commercial partnership with Amazon. “It’s competitive and complex so it’ll be a long operation.”