News: India’s Reliance partners with Google, Facebook for digital payment network bid: ET.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s conglomerate Reliance Industries has entered into a partnership Facebook Inc, Google and fintech player Infibeam are building a national digital payments network, the Economic Times reported on Saturday, citing unnamed sources.
Last year, the Central Bank of India urged companies to create new umbrella companies (NUEs) to create a payments network that can rival the system operated by the National Payments Council of India (NPCI) to reduce the risk of concentration in space.
Founded in 2008, NPCI is a not-for-profit company whose shareholders included dozen of banks as of March 2019, including State Bank of India, Citibank and HSBC. It processes billions in payments every day through services that include transfers between banks, ATMs, and digital payments.
Citing three unnamed sources, India’s leading business newspaper Economic Times said the group, led by Reliance and Infibeam, was at an advanced stage in filing its proposal with the Reserve Bank of India.
An Infibeam spokesman declined to comment on the report, saying the company was bound by the confidentiality of the process, while Reliance, Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to a 2019 study by Assocham-PWC India, digital payments in India could rise to $ 135.2 billion in 2023.
Facebook and Google are already working with Reliance and are involved in Jio Platforms – the unit that houses Reliance’s music, movie apps and telecommunications companies.
The RBI this week extended the deadline for all parties to submit NUE applications by March 31st from February 26th.
According to the report, it is expected that it will take another six months for the RBI to consider all of the proposals it has received, and it is not expected that more than two new “for-profit” NUE licenses will be issued.
The RBI did not respond to a request for comment.
Earlier media reports said other parties in the struggle are a group led by Amazon and ICICI Bank. another combination led by salt software conglomerate Tata Group and private lender HDFC Bank; and a company that owns India’s largest mobile payments platform, Paytm, domestic rideshare company Ola and IndusInd Bank.
Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Adaptation by Clelia Oziel
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