Hike Messenger, funded by Tencent, took a major step on Tuesday announcing that the company has introduced mobile payments in India. The company has launched Hike Wallet in an attempt to emulate WeChat and compete against WhatsApp which has yet to introduce mobile payments in the country despite being the leading messaging app in India.
WhatsApp has previously mentioned that the company plans to add mobile payments in India to accommodate the company’s 200 million users.
Hike has been elusive when asked about their user numbers but have stated that the app currently has over 100 million registered users in India. The company has been valued at $1.4 billion.
Hike introduced their version 5.0 on Tuesday with integration for bank-to-bank and peer-to-peer payment options. The app is integrated into India’s UPI payment system which is backed by the government.
The company has also introduced “blue packet” which is a feature that will deliver cash to users on special occasions, such as major holidays, anniversaries or even a person’s birthday.
Bank-to-bank money transfers are offered for free using the app and arrive in a user’s bank instantly. The recipient doesn’t need to have a Hike app account to be able to receive money. The company, funded by WeChat’s TenCent, has used WeChat as inspiration and has emulated many of the app’s features into their Hike app.
Hike wallet goes beyond bank and peer-to-peer transfers also allowing users to pay postpaid bills and top off their prepaid phones.
The company is working to improve their app to “change the way people interact” according to founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal.
India’s young and growing population is a test arena for many tech companies trying to test out new features. The country has a lot of first-time Internet users connecting online via a smartphone. The country expects Internet usage to grow to 450 million to 465 million users by the end of June with Internet penetration at just 31%.