The ongoing China-India border tension is resulting in more apps getting banned, and every time that happens the Indian startup unicorn Paytm comes under attack, either directly or indirectly.
This time the arch-rival of Paytm, MobiKwik has taken a dig at Paytm, albeit indirectly, by asking users whether they want to continue to use an app which is backed by Alibaba – the Chinese tech major which has been facing the wrath of the Indian government as its apps are being banned one after another.
Digital payment company MobiKwik surprised many with a full-page ad in Hindustan Times on Wednesday, targeting Alibaba and its associates in a very cheeky style. The ad carries a message and a question for readers asking whether they still want to use Chinese app to pay bills in spite of a series of the ban imposed by the Indian government!
But it was not just Chinese apps MobiKwick targeted at. Without quoting the name of Paytm the company creatively brought the attention of users towards it. The company said that the Indian government have banned 220 Chinese apps but users are still using the 221st app to make bill payments, recharges and other activities.
There could be no better time than now for MobiKwick to take a dig at its rivals which are backed by Chinese investors or companies. To leverage users’ sentiments, MobiKwik smartly played the card of nationalism by calling itself ‘truly Indian Payments‘ app in the ad and urged users to use the app for all their payment needs.
It’s indeed a perfect timing and creative advertisement to eat into the market share of Paytm, which accounts for a lion’s share of the digital payments in India despite constantly losing UPI battle.
The table, however, is turning as Paytm has been facing severe criticism for long for strong Chinese connects since the relationship between China and India has started becoming sore. Chinese major Alibaba played a major role in the growth of Paytm and making it one of the most valuable startup unicorns of India.
The estimated valuation of Paytm is hovering at $16 billion, and Alibaba Group owns nearly 38% share in One97 Communications Ltd, the holding company of Paytm.
However, all the investment was made when the Chinese investors were welcomes by the India startup ecosystem with both the hands. In the last six months, the situation has changed drastically as the clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh has impacted the trade relationship severely. As a result, in August, Alibaba suspended all its plans of investment in India.
The Indian government too has acted proactively and started banning many Chinese apps to reduce the impact and influence of Chinese companies on the India market. So far, in three rounds, India has banned over 220 Chinese apps, including TikTok and PUBG, which has cost billions of dollars to Chinese companies.
Paytm, which dominates the payment market of India, has been at the receiving end due to the sizeable investment made by Alibaba, which also provides significant control over the company. Taking advantage of the same, arch-rivals have been attacking Paytm at regular intervals, especially during the events when the Indian government makes any move against China.
How far such tactics would help MobiKwik in gaining grounds, only time will tell.