Coming at an opportune time amidst the Covid-19 era, Facebook, one of the most top valued companies' recent investment of $5.7 billion for a 9.99% stake in Reliance Jio Platforms is more than just a foreign investment in India’s booming technology market. India presently has the world’s largest young population and it comes as no surprise that western technology giants are looking to capitalize on the consumption of its growing middle class who are emerging to be of great global interest. The investment has another major strategic angle to it — Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has an active user base of 2 billion users globally and out of that 480 million+ users are in India. Despite being their largest market in terms of size and virtual omnipresence — WhatsApp has been quite unsuccessful in monetizing its massive user base. That’s why this strategic investment with Reliance Jio could be the catalyst for WhatsApp in unlocking its monetization potential, especially through WhatsApp Pay. There’s little doubt that India is the largest emerging market for payment solutions with multiple players already having their own share cut out. Payment solutions giant PayTM has already made strong inroads to metropolitan, tier-I and tier-II cities while Flipkart’s homegrown solution PhonePe is gradually finding a growing base of users across southern cities of India. Additional players in the domain such as Google Pay, Freecharge, and the government of India backed BHIM are emerging as competition.
So far, WhatsApp Pay has been able to provide a pilot program to some select users and recently acquired a license from National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to start phased rollouts. The payment solutions arm has been long overdue for almost two years now and with the new alliance, the instant messaging platform is looking to accelerate its progress. Hinting at an imminent launch in the second quarter of 2020, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he is sure that WhatsApp Pay will be a game-changer in India given its user base and fast adoption across demographies.
A recent report suggested that online payment in India saw a 12% upsurge in the last year, promising further growth in the coming months. Capitalizing on that, WhatsApp is sure to reach a user base of almost 400-million and counting. This gives it an undeniable lead when it comes to customer acquisition and adoption — where other payment solution providers find it difficult to overcome this particular hurdle, WhatsApp has already a competitive edge, that will make it a go-to application in the future for the small, medium and large transaction.Having said that, the platform needs to figure out its data compliance issues that have been delaying and stalling its launch. As recent as 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expressed their concerns over WhatsApp Pay’s feature reading data privacy, gateway security and more, especially looking at cyber vulnerabilities that may be a threat to the Indian digital banking ecosystem.
Undoubtedly, WhatsApp pay will give a tough fight to payment platforms such as Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and Paytm. WhatsApp Payment Solution will eliminate the need for downloading a third-party application, and this will also boost UPI-based transactions in India. Engage with your customers on WhatsApp.
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