Content

Netflix has raised its subscription prices by 13-18% for its 58 million subscribers in the US, reports Associated Press. Its most popular plan will see the biggest hike from $11 to $13. Although Netflix isn’t hiking its prices for the first time, this is the first hike which would apply to all of its US subscribers. Customers in 40 Latin American countries, where Netflix charges in dollars, will also be affected.

Payments

Soon after PayU India’s NBFC license was approved, the company is separating its lending entity – PayU Finance India – from the main company, presumably to turn the entity into a lending business, per Inc42. PayU India managing director Jitendra Gupta will lead the entity out of Mumbai with around 100 employees. PayU claims that its credit products customer base is 1 million, and it has disbursed credit worth Rs 200 crore.

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Flipkart-owned PhonePe now has 1 million offline merchants on its platform, with plans to hit 6 million by the end of 2019. The company also claims to have 150 million users, and is seeing growth in Tier 2 & 3 cities. PhonePe offers QR code payments which work on feature phones, and offers a billing PoS system for merchants.

Messaging

Hike will unbundle its main app into two – one for content and the other for social, to focus on each separately, the company said. Hike founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal said that the move “no longer restricts us to a specific segment of the market” and allows Hike to explore new internet users of an older age. However, users can either continue with the single app, or choose to switch to the newer apps for individual services.

Although it is not clear when Hike began providing content, the company had acquired InstaLively Livestreaming in June 2017, it begun aggregating news stories into 100 character in August 2015.

Lending

Lending marketplace Paisabazaar claims to have crossed $1 billion in annual loan disbursals, and claims to have grown 150 times since it was founded in 2014, reports the Economic Times. The company said it has disbursed unsecured loans worth Rs 480 crore: the loans have largely been given to salaried individuals whose monthly income is over Rs 25,000 and a credit score of above 750. Note that 66% of the borrowers were aged 35 or lower.

Paisabazaar co-founder Naveen Kukreja said that the company aims to capture 10% of the unsecured lending market in the next 3-4 years. Paisabazaar said that it partners with 90 banks and financial institutions, including NBFCs, mutual fund companies, and private banks, to extend loans.

Food

Zomato users will now be able to pay via Paytm in Delhi NCR. It will go live country-wide by the end of January. The feature is available on Android, and will become available on iOS soon. Zomato claims to have 80,000 restaurants onboard across 120 cities in India, with a run rate of 28 million per month.

Transport

Ola claims that its digital credit offering Ola Money Postpaid is growing 30% month on month since its launch last year. Ola will make the service available to all its users in the coming months and increase the credit line and billing cycle to 30 days (from the current 15 days) it said. It will also add on food, entertainment and utilities in the same timeframe, and enrol merchants.

  • Ola claims that over 10% of Ola customers (15 million of the 150 million) use this service, “and (Ola Money Postpaid) has very promising repeat usage rates.”
  • It adds that 90% of early adopters have used the service more than once.
  • Ola uses “internal big data risk scoring algorithms” to figure out who to offer the service to, it said.

Artificial intelligence

Microsoft India plans to train 15 lakh youth in artificial intelligence over the next 3 years and set up AI research labs in 10 institution, reports the Economic Times. Microsoft said that 700 organizations, including government bodies, were already using its AI tools and nearly 60% of them were large enterprises.