Mastercard bullish on India, announces $1 bn additional investment
Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry, has announced an investment of US$1 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) over the next five years in India, in addition to its earlier investment of US$1 billion between 2014 and 2019.
This additional investment tranche underscores Mastercard’s long-term commitment to the government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ vision and reflects the company’s confidence in the market. A significant part of this investment will go towards establishing a full on-soil domestic transactions processing center in and for India.
Another part of the investment will be directed towards building out a Services Hub, which will be focused on developing and delivering other value-added services such as authentication, tokenisation, cyber security and intelligence solutions and data analytics. This is a significant investment in technical capabilities which will allow processing of domestic transactions in India, and also provide the potential for the co-design and co-development of such services and solutions locally, in collaboration with global teams, with additional potential for deployment outside India.
Commenting on the strategic investment and the longer-term business strategy, Ari Sarker, Co-president, Asia Pacific, Mastercard, said, “India is a unique country with a progressive payments ecosystem. We are excited with our incremental and significant investment plans for this market, which we believe will be compelling differentiators for us. This investment builds on what is an enduring and focused strategy for us in this market, and will also enable us to explore avenues to expand our local collaborations and partnerships while deepening our commitment to the government’s vision of moving towards a cashless society.”
Mastercard has been consistently and rapidly expanding its presence and investment in India. This incremental investment builds on the previous investment of Rs 6,500 crore (US$1 billion) between 2014 and 2019, which included two major acquisitions, new offices in Bengaluru and Gurugram, a Mastercard Lab & Operations Hub in Pune, and a Technology Centre in Vadodara. The workforce has grown from 29 in 2013 to about 2000 today, representing 14 per cent of Mastercard’s global workforce based in India.
The company is also driving a seminal shift from financial inclusion to inclusive growth through various initiatives aimed at accelerating the digital acceptance infrastructure. There has been an increase from the 1.2 million merchant acceptance points in 2016 to about 5.2 million merchants currently, with a stated commitment to digitally enabling 10 million merchants by 2020. Mastercard has also worked for years with the Confederation of all India Traders (CAIT) 70 million merchants and traders to enhance awareness and adoption of digital payments. Additionally, Mastercard is also empanelled with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as an Authentication Service Agency (ASA) for providing Aadhaar-based authentication and e-KYC services that help benefit disbursement and further drive last-mile financial inclusion.
With the rise in the number of connected devices, there is an imperative and opportunity to protect the digital payments ecosystem. Mastercard is working with partners to develop and implement technologies, processes and expertise that prevent, detect and resolve threats while also enhancing the payments experience. Currently, Mastercard is driving tokenisation for payments that will enhance the security of stored card credentials, provide advance authentication to reduce checkout errors and expedite the online checkout experience.
Over the last decade, Mastercard has also been actively involved in fostering the start-up ecosystem and the fintech revolution in India through a variety of partnerships and the infusion of capital into early stage start-ups. Through the company’s established global Start Path program and the establishment of a local India Investment Fund, Mastercard has supported a range of start-ups including Razorpay, Zeta, ToneTag, Fluid AI, Happay, SignZy, ftcash and Syntizen.