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Corporate Strategy Case Study

Case Title:

Western Union In India: The Rural- market Focused Strategy

Publication Year :  Jan 2010

Authors: Naga Sandhya, Syed Abdul Samad

Industry: Banking, Insurance and Financial Services


Case Code: COS0092

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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“The Indian diaspora is a significant asset for India's relationship with the countries which Indians have chosen to make their homes,” stated President of India, Pratibha Patil. However, the Indian diaspora is not only valuable for international relationships but also for the growth of Indian economy. In 2008, it was estimated that overseas Indian population remitted $50 billion to India. The surge in remittances also led to the growth of money transfer businesses in India. Several banks and non-bank players are already engaged in money transfer services in India, making it a big business in the country. Because of the promising remittance growth, these players are keen on expanding their business by catering to more regions in India.

Western Union (WU), a 158-year-old, US-based money transfer company, is one among them, rapidly expanding its network of agent locations in India, especially in rural areas. By realising the vast, untapped rural market for money transfer services, WU chalked out a number of strategies to expand its rural presence. Although the company emerged out with innovative strategies to increase its outreach in rural India, it is not exempted from challenges. The case study looks into the challenges for WU in its way of rural expansion and also whether it will be able to convert the adversities into advantages.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To critically analyse the reasons responsible for the growth of remittances to India
  • To have an overview of different money transfer channels available for remittances to India
  • To understand the money transfer business and revenue generating model of WU in India (rural India in particular)
  • To understand the strategies chalked out by WU to expand its business in rural India and evaluate the possible challenges for the company in its rural approach.

Keywords : Rural Markets, Indian Rural Markets, Rural Market Strategies, Business Strategy, Operating Model, Business Model, Western Union, Western Union in India, Money Transfer Services, Remittances from India, Remittance Channels, Private Money Transfer Agents, Moneygram, Indian Diaspora, Hawala Networks, Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN), Microfinance Institutions

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