Japanese conglomerate firm Hitachi has quite a presence in India. The company’s payments division, Hitachi Payment Services is now teaming up with SBI Payment Services, owned by the State Bank of India, which India’s largest bank, to create a digital payments platform for the country. A press release from Hitachi confirms this, stating that this joint venture is aimed at accelerating the digital payments growth in the country. 

As per this joint venture, Hitachi Payments will invest 26% in the venture. This partnership between the two companies is going to oversee the development of a digital payments platform which will be integrated with Point-of-Sale (POS) solutions, as well as towards solutions for mass transit and e-commerce in India. Hitachi and the State Bank of India have had a cordial relationship over the year. The Japanese firm is SBI’s technology provider for card and digital services since 2011. The company said in their Press Release:

Hitachi will provide wide range of services contributing to "Digital India" by creating innovative solutions with "Lumada". With this JV, Hitachi will accelerate digitalization of financial services in India by linking up digital payments platform to state-of-the-art digital technologies of "Lumada", and also will provide solutions for mass transit sector and e-commerce businesses.

Hitachi’s expertise in the world of digital payments, big data analytics and Artificial Intelligence are expected to be of key importance here. Hitachi, as per the Press Release, will make use of their Lumada IoT platform to help boost the Indian payments sector. Hitachi also has a strong presence in the country, as it manages 55,000 ATMs and 850,000 POS devices in India. 

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The Lumada platform functions over a Blockchain Proof-of-Concept (POC) network. Last year, Hitachi made use of the Lumada platform for supply chain management, in partnership with Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group. This partnership also shows that banks in India are keen to get on the blockchain bandwagon. Earlier this year, we saw ICICI bank enlisting 250 corporate firms on its blockchain platform.

The State Bank of India, too, has been pushing towards developing blockchain-based technologies for quite some time now. The bank had commissioned the development of a blockchain-based platform for Know Your Customer (KYC) verifications last year. Toshiaki Higashihara, President & CEO of Hitachi, Ltd. commented on this joint venture, saying: 

"Along with the accelerating movement of digitization around the world, Hitachi aims to improve people's lives by providing digital solutions in India and other countries. By establishing the joint venture with SBI, Hitachi will further contribute to the development of digital payments in India by building a state-of-the-art digital payments platform and leveraging SBI's robust customer network."

This joint venture between the two firms is a result of the Prime Minister’s Digital India vision. India has been witnessing a massive rise in digital payments and digital payment processing platforms since 2016 when the demonetization drive was announced in the country. The government of India has allied with Japanese firms for various projects, including India’s ambitious bullet train project. With state-owned SBI joining hands with Hitachi, this is another example of this successful partnership between the two nations.