Facebook is gearing up to launch the most-anticipated WhatsApp Pay in India, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said. Facebook has already run a successful test on WhatsApp Pay from millions of users in the country, however, it has been delayed to launch due to some data compliance issues and regulations.
“We have our test going in India. The test really shows that a lot of people are going to want to use this product. We’re very optimistic that we’re going to be able to launch to everyone in India soon, but of course will share more news when we have that,” Zuckerberg told analysts on an earnings call on Wednesday.
The peer-to-peer, UPI-based WhatsApp Pay service will reach over 400 million users, especially to the small and medium businesses to boost the digital payments in the country.
Although the company is gearing up to launch its new service in India, the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have expressed concerns over some of WhatsApp’s features in complying with the regulations.
At the initial stage, WhatsApp said that it had built a local system to store payments-related data to comply with the RBI’s data localization requirement, but later in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, RBI says that WhatsApp didn’t comply with its data localization norms. And so, it has been halted until everything goes well as per all the government procedures.
“We differentiate between payment systems that are built on top of the existing financial infrastructure like what we’re trying to do with WhatsApp payments or when we make payments in Instagram Shopping, and our work with something like Libra that is trying to build some new technological infrastructure for financial services,” Zuckerberg elaborated.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said if WhatsApp meets the regulatory norms from RBI and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), then it should be allowed to start digital payment operations in the country.
WhatsApp has been working so to get the UPI-based WhatsApp Pay working in the country to compete against other tech giants like Alphabet’s Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe, Amazon Pay and Alibaba-backed Paytm. These companies are in fierce competition to dominate the digital payments industry in the country which is estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2023.
Well, as per Mark Zuckerburg’s statement, WhatsApp Pay will soon launch in the country. So, we can expect to have it soon within a month or so.
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