Putting an end to a month-long speculation, Indian mobile payments and e-commerce brand Paytm today announced that it has received US$1.4 billion in fresh investment from Japanese internet and telecom behemoth SoftBank Group.

The funding comes barely two months after Paytm, owned and operated by Noida-based One97 Communications, secured US$200 million from Alibaba Group. The SoftBank deal will give Paytm enough war-chest to take on Amazon and Flipkart, which recently raised US$1.4 billion and acquired eBay, and is currently on course to merging with Snapdeal.

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Paytm plans to use the fresh capital for growth, to expand its user base and build a suite of financial services products for users. It will invest approximately US$1.6 billion over the next three to five years to bring half a billion Indians to the mainstream economy.

As a part of this vision, it will soon launch the Paytm Payments Bank, a mobile-first product that plans to reach every corner of the nation, and focus on the millions of unserved and under-served Indians.

Speaking on the occasion, Paytm Founder & CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said: “We are at an inflection point in our journey with Paytm. This investment by SoftBank and support of the incredible entrepreneur Masayoshi Son (Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group) is a great endorsement of our team’s execution and vision.We believe we have a great opportunity to bring financial inclusion to half a billion Indians.”

Son said: “In line with the Indian government’s vision to promote digital inclusion, we are committed to transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of Indian consumers and merchants by providing them digital ​access to a broad array of ​​financial services, including mobile payments. We are excited to partner with ​Paytm in this journey and will provide them with all our support.”

Founded in 2008, Paytm has been a key player in the e-commerce and payments segments in India. Started off as a mobile recharge company, Paytm later expanded into digital commerce space. To date, Paytm has raised close to US$1 billion in total funding from the likes of SAIF Partners, Sapphire Venture and Silicon Valley Bank, and well-known industrialist Ratan Tata. A few months ago, the company launched its payments bank, which can accept deposits from individuals and small businesses of up to INR 1 lakh (US$1,500) per account.

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Paytm recently invested US$90 million to enable merchants across India for acceptance of digital payments using its QR code-based payment solution. It claims that this solution has been adopted by millions of merchants. In addition, it also offers Paytm Wallet, which has over 220 million users.

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