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WhatsApp’s commerce partnerships in India is set to be expanded by Facebook, then take it global

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CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the social media giant would seek more partnerships in India, and even take the solution global, if the Facebook alliance with Reliance Jio succeeds in engaging thousands of small businesses onto WhatsApp.

 To enable about 30 million kirana stores across India to transact digitally with neighbourhood customers, WhatsApp, Facebook’s messenger app, tied up with Jio Mart, the ecommerce arm of Reliance Industries in April.

Digital payments service to farmers, teachers, students and SMEs are to be extended, as the companies’ hope.

Zuckerberg told analysts Thursday, “We’re really excited about the opportunity there. And once we prove that out with Jio in India, we’re planning on expanding it to more folks in India and to other countries as well.”

WhatsApp Pay which is WhatsApp’s payments feature, is designed to route on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), developed by the National Payments Corporation of India. Transfer of funds to individuals as well as business transactions through bank accounts is allowed by the feature. Facebook is expecting regulatory permission for a full-fledged rollout in India.

A crucial development, i.e. Jio’s partnership with Facebook is something that may lead to alliance in India’s payments sector.

Zuckerberg said on the call, “A big part of the partnership that we have with Jio will be to wire up and get thousands of small businesses across India onboarded onto WhatsApp, to do commerce there.”

Facebook’s $5.7-billion investment in Reliance Industries’ unit Jio Platforms happened after the partnership, which made the Palo Alto-based company its largest minority shareholder.

WhatsApp’s integration with JioMart is enabled by the deal and it allows people to connect with businesses and purchase products in a seamless mobile experience. , Sources said that Facebook’s deal with JioMart to use the WhatsApp messenger for shopping is nonexclusive. A speaker for Facebook declined to comment. Reliance Jio decided not to respond to any questions.

The social media giant is gambling on messaging commerce — permitting customers to shop online using the WhatsApp messenger and incorporating payments with it. Developing countries are the one aimed by this.

Zuckerberg told analysts, “It’s very connected to what I was just talking about around messaging commerce. A lot of people use WhatsApp, especially in India. There’s a huge opportunity to enable small businesses and individuals in India to buy and sell things through WhatsApp. We want to enable that. That starts with enabling payments.” A lot of small businesses in developing countries conduct business over Facebook Messenger, or over WhatsApp, is what he added.

He said that, “In the medium term, I think, the way that we’re probably going to build a business around that.” The messaging platform plans to offer credit, insurance and pension products to lowincome individuals and those in rural areas is what WhatsApp’s India head Abhijit Bose said last week, and it will help digitise small and medium businesses.

Quarterly revenue is estimated by Facebook Inc beat analyst, as more businesses used its digital advertising tools to tap a gush in online traffic during the coronavirus pandemic. Total income rose to $18.69 billion from $16.89 billion in the second quarter ended June 30, beating analyst estimates of $17.40 billion.

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