Paytm, the Indian digital payments firm, is putting money behind a new marketing effort and an expanded content offer to help it double its number of monthly active users from the current figure of 140 million by March next year.

It is investing Rs 750 crore ($10m) to acquire new customers and onboard new merchants in small cities and towns, Financial Express reported.

“We are already seeing 27 million monthly active users on Paytm Inbox [a messaging service],” said Deepak Abbot, senior vice-president, Paytm.

“Now that we are upgrading it to the next level with innovative use of content, we hope to get around 60-70 million new users,” he added. “Our target is to have 250 million monthly active users this [fiscal] year.”

From next month users will be able to access a range of content through the app, including news, short videos and live television.

Abbot also expects to lift user numbers through a series of deals with smartphone makers, including Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, which will see the Paytm application pre-loaded on their devices.

“Since 55-60% of them are first-time smartphone users we are hoping to capture that section of the market once they get the app,” he said.

At the same time, the firm is aiming to have 20 million merchants able to accept digital payments through Paytm QR.

Paytm’s leadership in digital payments was given a boost with India’s demonetisation policy – the November 2016 decision to ban the use of two high denomination currency notes to fight corruption and terror financing – but it was already playing a different strategic game to other brands in this market, according to Jitender Dabas and Harshvardhan Sahni of McCann Worldgroup India.

In the August issue of Admap (topic: the future of digital payments), they argue that when other brands were asking themselves ‘How can we digitize India?’…Paytm was asking itself ‘How can we Indianize digital?’

Underpinning that, they explain, was the understanding that “in India, currency is measured not by its transactional worth, but by its emotional worth”. (For more details, read the full article: How Paytm built a digital payments brand in cash-addicted India.)

And when demonetisation happened, a financial digital literacy program in multiple languages targeted consumers beyond the urban digerati with “focused initiatives to not just functionally replace cash but also culturally and emotionally be its replacement in hearts and minds of Indians”.

Sourced from Financial Express, Economic Times, Admap; additional content by WARC staff