Last month’s Circles drama highlights the struggle Jack Ma’s empire faces in expanding its financial services business.To recap, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its affiliate Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co. added social features to Alipay’s smartphone app to help promote engagement. In theory, more engagement should lead to greater use of its marquee function, which is sending money from user to user. Results weren’t as expected and Ant was forced to issue an apology.
An entrepreneurial outfit like Alibaba isn’t likely to be satisfied with sitting on its hands, however. Alibaba can bring a lot to the table, and there’s every indication Paytm could benefit.Then there’s the future of Paytm. Not content with simply being a payments provider, Ant Financial branched out in areas including loans, money-market funds and credit profiling. Those are all products an expanding, wealthier India is going to be clamouring for in coming decades.