Mark Zuckerberg hints that WhatsApp Pay India launch could happen pretty soon

Facebook seems to be stepping closer to launch its much-anticipated WhatsApp Pay in India. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has said that the company will soon have a positive news to share.

WhatsApp has been preparing for the launch of its payments service in India since many months but the data compliance issues and regulations have kept WhatsApp Pay launch in abeyance for quite some time, despite successful test run of the payments service.

During earnings call on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg told analysts: “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.”

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The peer-to-peer, UPI-based WhatsApp Pay service will reach over 400 million users — especially the small and medium businesses (SMBs) — to boost digital inclusion in the country. However, the Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have expressed concerns over some of the features in complying with the regulations.

A couple of years back, in 2017, the company had started testing the payments service in India through invite-only model. Although it’s been over two years since that testing started, the company is yet to officially launch the service in India.

The service didn’t launch earlier despite testing it with around 1 million users because of the newly introduced privacy-related regulations by the Indian government. Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp India head had recently revealed a new information during an interview with The Economic Times. He said: “We hope to offer the service by the end of the year”.

WhatsApp is planning to integrate the payment system with its WhatsApp for Business application and is aiming to enable “end-to-end communication cycle” between the customers and small business using the app.

During the earnings call, Dave Wehner, Chief Financial Officer at Facebook, said that the daily active users reached 1.62 billion, up 9 per cent compared to last year. He also added that the company’s growth is led by India, Indonesia and the Philippines.