At a specially-curated “Ask Me Anything” session during DealStreetAsia’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2020 on November 24-25, Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma shared candid views on several prickly issues that have come up around one of India’s most valuable unicorns.
During the session, moderated by DealStreetAsia editor Joji Thomas Philip, Sharma shed light on the much-publicised confrontation with Google from earlier this year and accusations that Paytm was being controlled by Chinese investors like Alibaba and Ant at a time when the ongoing geopolitical tensions between India and China have resulted in the ban of over 200 apps with China-based antecedents including massively popular ones like Tik-Tok and PUBG.
[Reuters reported on December 2, 2020, that Chinese fintech giant Ant Group was considering selling its 30% stake in Paytm amid tensions between the two Asian neighbours and a toughening competitive landscape].
Through the course of the session, Sharma clarified that his problems with Google stem from the tech major’s dominant position in the Indian mobile ecosystem. He said, “It is a great company and we are standing on the shoulders of giants who have brought this innovation and creativity in the world. But the challenge is when a firm stifles innovation and does not let somebody else move forward. So yes, I’m bothered about a firm with 97 per cent market share.”
The transcript of the session has been edited for brevity and clarity.