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Paytm axes three-quarters of its sellers to fight counterfeits

The country's e-commerce industry is expected to be worth $100 billion by 2020, and Paytm doesn't want a counterfeit problem like Alibaba has.


Paytm is best known for its mobile payments services in India.

Punit Paranjpe / AFP/Getty Images

Paytm is one of India's biggest e-retailers, and it doesn't want to end up plagued by counterfeiters like Chinese backer Alibaba. 

More than three quarters (or 85,000) of sellers on the company's online shopping platform were axed in what could be the market's largest crackdown on dubious sellers, reported Bloomberg on Wednesday. Consequently, only 30,000 sellers remain on Paytm Mall.

The move is an effort to clamp down on questionable sellers and fraudulent practices in order to earn trust from its customers. While the problem of fakes may not be as pervasive in India as it is in China, the country sits among the top 10 exporters of counterfeit goods, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

"It is a drastic measure but we need to do that to create the right kind of e-commerce platform," Amit Sinha, Paytm's chief operating officer, told Bloomberg. "We wanted to clean up our house and reset Paytm Mall on the trust count."

The move is also seen as part of Paytm's battle for a larger piece of the market against more established rivals in the country such as Amazon and Flipkart, which boast hundreds of thousands of sellers on their respective platforms. Given that the number of internet users in India will keep growing, Google India expects the country's e-commerce market to reach $100 billion by 2020.

CNET has reached out to Paytm for a comment.

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