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Accelerating Global E-Commerce: Adyen Cofounder Peter Caparso (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Oct 17th 2010

Sramana: What does your team want to do with this company? Are you ultimately looking to sell it or build it into a larger company?

Peter Caparso: We honestly think we have something here. The market has responded favorably. In the short term we will remain focused on building the business. I will never say ‘never,’ but for now we are going to focus on growing revenue and adding sales people.

Sramana: International consumer purchases have the potential to be substantial. I buy some merchandise internationally, but I do it through eBay, which handles the transaction for me.

Peter Caparso: My son loves soccer and wanted an Italian soccer jersey. I went to the Inter Milan site, which could not handle an American credit card. I had to order the shirt through a relative. I am looking to reverse that. We are a credit card–centric society today in the U.S. In Europe people have a credit card but they don’t use it much. Only 17% of Germans own credit cards. We are trying to educate our customer base about global markets.

Sramana: The big numbers are in India, China, Indonesia, and Brazil. India is ramping slow when it comes to the Internet, but there is still a scenario where you will have 80 million people on the Internet there. Latin America is coming along very well. Indonesia is coming online very well, this year in particular. I think Asia and Latin America are more interesting than the U.S. and Europe right now. A U.S. credit card will handle a purchase everywhere. An Indian or Chinese credit card has limited purchasing power. From a consumer point of view, your technology might have tremendous traction if you can enable individuals with other credit cards to make purchases from U.S. e-commerce sites.

Peter Caparso: An Indian consumer can buy only in India? That is very interesting.

Sramana: Right. A company called Flipkart sells my books in India for this exact reason. Indian users can buy other products with Indian currency. This is due to a foreign exchange regulation in India that prevents Indian consumers from buying things abroad.

Peter Caparso: That is spot on with India and China. In China, the issue is taking money about of the country. There are 8 million to 9 million credit cards in that country and 20 million debit cards. We would love to get into that debit card market. We are talking with China Union Pay now to see if we can set something up. South Korea is another very difficult market to get in. We do think that South America is a growing market. We have just added five countries there.

Sramana: Can South Americans buy from another country using their credit card?

Peter Caparso: Yes. South Americans are like Europeans. If they are buying something small they use their online bank transfer. They only take their credit card out to use it if it is a big purchase. Actual credit card usage is lower than North America. Commerce is a fascinating job for reasons such as this.

Sramana: If there were an American company that wanted to sell in India or China, if you could open those markets up for them it would be of huge interest.

Peter Caparso: I agree. I think there is enormous opportunity there.

Sramana: I enjoyed listening to your story, it is very interesting. Good luck, and I look forward to keeping in touch.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Accelerating Global E-Commerce: Adyen Cofounder Peter Caparso
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"Indian users can buy other products with Indian currency. This is due to a foreign exchange regulation in India that prevents Indian consumers from buying things abroad."

This point is fallacious. I have bought many a times on Amazon (US and German Site) and through eBay using my Indian Credit Card. There is no regulation of RBI which restricts such transactions. When abroad we can use them in a normal store then why not online? However, there are times when I have not been able to transact on some sites because they cannot process an Indian Card.

Further, people choose Flipkart and Infibeam to buy yours and other imported books simply because Amazon charges prohibitive shipping. If a friend of mine is coming from US, then Amazon would be the best deal for me.

Vikas Bansal Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 6:14 AM PT