Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META ) has announced the expansion of payment options on its messaging application, WhatsApp, in India. The announcement made on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, includes the introduction of credit card payments and services from competing firms within the app. This move is seen as a part of Meta's ongoing efforts to monetize WhatsApp, particularly for its worldwide user base.
The decision to extend WhatsApp into a payment platform could enhance its profitability by providing businesses with a stronger motivation to pay Meta for access to its user base. Currently, WhatsApp Pay users in India are limited to 100 million. However, Meta's collaborations with local fintech competitors such as Razorpay and PayU are expected to enable a larger portion of its over 400 million Indian users to purchase goods and services directly within the app.
In a blog post, Meta expressed enthusiasm about working with these partners to simplify payments to be as easy as sending a message. This development appears to bring WhatsApp closer to becoming an all-in-one mobile application in India, similar to Asia's superapps like WeChat.
The CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg had stated in the previous year that business messaging would serve as a key component of the company's future strategy. While Meta does not disclose the financial performance of WhatsApp, which it acquired for $19 billion in 2014, it has been promoting the app as a conduit for communication between businesses and their clientele for several years.
However, Meta isn't alone in its pursuit of the superapp model. Elon Musk has spoken about transforming his X platform, previously known as Twitter, into a blend of financial platform and social network. Superapps have typically found more success in developing nations where users' first experience with internet services is through mobile devices. Apart from India, Meta also extends WhatsApp payment options to users in Brazil and Singapore.
On Wednesday, Meta's shares remained relatively stable during premarket trading.
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