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来自印度的 Paytm 想让日本告别纸币时代

电子货币正横扫全球,日本作为世界第三大经济体和科技大国,却一直在场外旁观。不过,印度最大数字支付公司 Paytm 的 CEO 认为,这个岛国即将告别纸币时代。

今年早些时候,基于其二维码支付技术,Paytm 与软银和日本雅虎联手推出了针对日本市场的支付产品 PayPay。据 Business Standard 报道,Paytm 创始人兼 CEO Shekhar Sharma 称产品初期表现已超出预期。软银愿景(Vision Fund)也是 Paytm 的投资方,后者的母公司是印度移动互联网企业 One97 Communications。

Sharma 表示,如果“拿下”日本市场,Paytm 就获得了在其它发达国家扩张的“通行证”。“我个人的野心是让美国再次伟大(make American great again),”Sharma 在上述报道中表示。

Sharma 和他的合作伙伴赶上了绝佳的时机。日本首相安倍晋三已定下目标,计划到2025年,让本国的电子支付比例翻番,从目前的20%增长到40%。未来,安倍希望这一比例能达到80%,让日本再次领先全球。

这将是一项浩大的工程。当前,以占本国经济规模的比例衡量,日本的纸币印发量居全球之首。

这其中有几个原因。首先,长期的超低利息和通货紧缩让日本人更倾向于把钱放在家里,这使得日本纸币的购买力持续提升。

另一个原因可能是该国庞大的地下经济。哈佛大学教授兼经济学家 Knneth Rogoff 在其著作《现金的诅咒(The Curse of Cash)》中援引数据称,日本的地下经济规模超过美国。从纸币转向数字交易能让日本政府更好地打击逃税行为和扫除黑帮组织。当然,这一行动肯定会遭遇阻力。

数字货币的普及还能让日本中央银行在经济困顿时期有更多选择。经济下行时缓解颓势的主要手段是降息,但考虑到日本的基准利率已经为负值,日本央行的选择不多。

一旦数字交易普及,日本央行就可以进一步降低利率,倒逼老百姓取出银行存款,鼓励储户把钱投入股市等投资渠道,而不是把存款换成现金,藏在自家的榻榻米垫下。

问题在于,日本人对钱的态度根植于该国的文化中,要改变他们的习惯很难。与此同时,Paytm 还需要和即时通信 Line 推出的二手交易 APP Mercari (旗下有在线支付服务 Merpay) 展开竞争。

世界其它地区也有类似情况:PayPal、Amazon、Google和Facebook 等美国公司以及腾讯、蚂蚁金服等中国巨头在其本土市场作战的同时,也都在酝酿全球扩张的计划。

先后在印度和日本市场验证其技术后,Sharma 是否有希望攻克全球最大经济体美国?他面临的将是苹果和 Amazon 这样的本土竞争对手。不过,美国和日本市场有一个共同点:美国电子钱包市场的竞争也还没有定局,各玩家仍有机会。

Electronic money is catching on in many parts of the globe, but Japan—the world’s third-largest economy and one of the most technologically sophisticated—has mostly been a spectator. The CEO of India’s biggest digital payments company, however, thinks the island nation is finally getting over paper cash.

Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma says his collaboration with SoftBank and Yahoo Japan is off to a better-than-expected start, according to a Business Standard report. The Japanese service, called PayPay, uses Paytm’s QR code payment technology and launched earlier this year. SoftBank Vision Fund is also an investor in Paytm, which is owned by Indian mobile-internet firm One97 Communications.

If Paytm “kills it” in Japan, Sharma says that will be a green light to expand in other advanced economies. “My personal ambition will be to make America great again,” he said in the report.

Sharma and his partners have good timing. Prime minister Shinzo Abe’s ambition is for Japan to double its share of digital payments within a decade, from around 20% now to 40% by 2025. Abe’s longer-term goal is a world-leading 80%.

It would be a massive shift. For now, Japan prints and distributes far more paper money as a percentage of its economy than other major countries.

If Paytm “kills it” in Japan, Sharma says that will be a green light to expand in other advanced economies. “My personal ambition will be to make America great again,” he said in the report.

Sharma and his partners have good timing. Prime minister Shinzo Abe’s ambition is for Japan to double its share of digital payments within a decade, from around 20% now to 40% by 2025. Abe’s longer-term goal is a world-leading 80%.

It would be a massive shift. For now, Japan prints and distributes far more paper money as a percentage of its economy than other major countries.

Similar dynamics are playing out in other geographies: US companies like PayPal, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Chinese giants Tencent and Alibaba affiliate Ant Finance are battling in their home markets. They, too, harbor ambitions of expanding around the world.

Does Sharma have a shot with his India- and Japan-tested technology in the world’s biggest economy? He’d have to beat the likes of Apple and Amazon on their own turf. But similar to Japan, the US market for digital wallets is still up for grabs, which suggests there could be a chance.

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