Mobile commerce firm Paytm will invest Rs. 150 crore in 2014 as it expands operations and reach buoyed by the growth in smartphone penetration in India.
Paytm, which started by offering mobile recharge and utility bill payments, will invest the amount in recruiting fresh talent, acquisitions, marketing and brand building.
"We will invest Rs. 150 crore in expansion. The amount will be sourced through internal accruals and will be invested in this calendar year," Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma told PTI.
Sharma added that the firm has so far this year hired 100 people and plans to hire 300 more.
"We set a target of hiring 200 engineers, 200 sales people and a 100 engineers to meet growing demand. Of this, 100 have joined us," he said.
Besides, freshers, the firm will also hire for middle and senior level, he added.
Paytm already has set a target of reaching a user base of 15 million by the end of this year.
"Another important investment that we are making is on marketing and brand building. Our associations like that with Pepsi for the IPL 2014, have helped increase awareness among the people about Paytm and we look forward to more such initiatives," Sharma said.
Paytm tied up with Pepsi for a marketing campaign, which coincided with the IPL season during which it gave shopping vouchers worth up to Rs. 2 lakh to lucky shoppers along with upto 200 per cent cashback on mobile recharges making it one of the biggest promo online.
"We spent about Rs. 100 crore from our kitty on this campaign and looking at it now I think it was money well spent," he added.
On acquisitions, Sharma said the company is looking at opportunities that would help increase its service offerings.
It has also introduced the Paytm cash wallet, which is a mobile prepaid payment option allowing users to add cash from their bank account or credit card.
Since it began operations, Paytm has about 8 million orders a month, while its mobile wallet is used by around six million users to pay for various services.
According to industry body IAMAI, the number of mobile Internet users is expected to touch 185 million by June 2014, accounting for about 76% of the Internet user base in the country.
It also said digital commerce market stood at Rs. 47,349 crore by the end of 2012 and at the end of December 2013, it grew to Rs. 62,967 crore.
As per a Boston Consulting Group report, at present, about 45% of online consumers in India use only their mobile devices to access the Internet and this is expected to rise to 60% over the next three years.