Google India has appointed Sajith Sivanandan as the head of payments and access service in India, reports the Economic Times. Before this appointment, Sivanandan, in his 11-year stint at Google, has worked as its managing director for operations in Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and new emerging markets. This is amongst the four new appointments the company has reportedly made in the recent past, according to ET. It is important to note that this development comes days after the tech giant rebranded its UPI payment app Tez to Google Pay.

The company has also appointed Ambarish Kenghe as senior product director of Google Pay. This is his second stint at the company, as prior to this, Kenghe was the co-founder and product management lead for Google’s Chromecast based at the company’s headquarters in California. That apart, Kenghe was also the Chief Product Officer at Indian e-commerce outlet Myntra between July 2015 and May 2018.

Elsewhere google also reportedly appointed Munish Seth as the new country director for Android, where he will be responsible for driving partnerships with handset makers. Prior to this, Munish worked at Facebook as the regional head-APAC for connectivity solutions, and led the social media giant’s Express Wi-Fi programme in India.

Lastly, Pankaj Gupta, has been appointed as the director of engineering, Next Billion Users at the company. He joined Google after it acquired Halli Labs — a Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup, where he was the founder-CEO.

Competition in the Payments space

Although the payments ecosystem was already extremely competitive in India, things have intensified even more in the last few months. India’s largest payments company, Paytm has raised an undisclosed amount from Berkshire Hathaway this week in order to ward off competition and continue its expansion drive.

Another major player, Flipkart backed PhonePe has also been raising vast amounts of money, along with building partnerships with various services and applications, leading to it becoming the largest UPI-based payments player in the country with a 40% share of the market in July.

While India Post Payments Bank has finally begin operations this week, Amazon India also launched a bill payment service that will allow users to pay electricity, landline, broadband, gas and postpaid bills across 100 utility providers in the country. This is apart from the countless other payment apps that already exist, and a bunch of others that are likely to launch soon, including WhatsApp, and Reliance Jio.

Google’s payment operations in India

Google launched the UPI-based payments application Tez in September 2017,  reporting over 7.5 million users and 30 million transactions within five weeks of its launch. The platform’s market share quickly began to rise after it enabled users to pay utility bills in February 2018. Joining forces with the likes of SBI, HDFC Bank, and ICICI Bank to allow users of Tez to create their bank’s Virtual Payment Address (VPA) also helped the company in its battle to conquer the UPI ecosystem.  Last week, it rebranded Tez to Goolge Pay, with multiple features including, in-app process for applying for loans for users on partnered banks. Additionally, the company said it’s partnering with Pine Labs and BillDesk, who develop POS machines, to spread to more physical stores.