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Global mobile payment firm Fortumo expands to India, appoints Sanjay Sinha as head

Fortumo OÜ, a global mobile payments company with operations in 80 countries, has opened an office in New Delhi. It has also appointed Sanjay Sinha as general manager for India.

"My goal as the general manager for Fortumo India will be to secure a central role for Fortumo in this growing market," said Sinha, who comes with a decade of experience in the mobile payments industry. Prior to joining Fortumo, he was the carrier relations manager at Yahoo India. Previously, he held various roles at ACL Wireless and Cellnext.

Fortumo has been operating in India since September this year and has already partnered with leading service providers, including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, Idea and Tata Docomo for direct carrier billing. With the direct carrier billing service, users do not need to send any messages to complete the purchases. The service is available to 600 million phone owners in the country. It is also working with some of the biggest digital goods merchants, including video streaming service BoxTV, it said in a press statement.

The firm has also created a customised payment flow for feature phone users as well. The solution automatically recognises when a feature phone environment is being used and morphs itself to enable payments on phones without in-app payment capabilities. The service is currently free.

According to the company, India plays a central role in its emerging market strategy as the number of smartphone users in the country is expected to grow to 67 million in 2013 and to 382 million by 2016. India has less than 20 million credit card owners, which means that 99 per cent of the population cannot pay for content using services such as Google Play or PayPal. A recent study showed that India is expected to overtake the US in the number of mobile subscribers in coming years (China leads the pack).

"India is such an important growth market for mobile payments; so we just needed to go local there. Sanjay Sinha will help both Western developers earn revenue from India and Indian developers to make money from abroad," said Rain Rannu, founder, Fortumo.

The company was founded in 2007. It enables app and game developers to monetise users via micro-payments. Users pay with their mobile phone and purchases are charged to their mobile phone bill. Fortumo mobile payments support PCs, mobile web and HTML5 apps. It has payment connectivity to over 300 mobile operators across the globe. Fortumo is backed by Intel Capital and Greycroft Partners and has offices in Estonia, San Francisco and Beijing, besides New Delhi.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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