Basil Sgourdos

Tencent investor Prosus — the spinoff of JSE-listed technology and media conglomerate Naspers — is placing its bet on India as the next big technology market.

The Dutch e-commerce group’s US$4.7-billion (R68.7-billion) purchase of Indian payments business BillDesk is its largest deal ever, according to a company spokesman. Prosus has been scouring the globe to replicate its blockbuster bet on Chinese game maker Tencent Holdings.

“India is a fantastic market and we have seen good policies come out of the country, that has seen about 700 million people using the Internet,” Basil Sgourdos, chief financial officer of Prosus, said in an interview. “We have a lot of capital allocated to this market, and it’s a key growth area for us.”

Prosus, through Cape Town-based Naspers, was an early investor in Tencent. It has sold some of its stake in Tencent in recent years, providing it with cash to do larger deals.

China has been cracking down on the tech industry, and recent measures include slashing kids’ game time to just under three hours. Meanwhile, India has been opening up its policy environment to boost digital inclusion.

Tuesday’s BillDesk deal almost doubles the size of Prosus’s payments business, Sgourdos said. The group’s other Indian investments include online education platforms such as Byju’s and food-delivery company Swiggy.  — (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP