Sci-tech

WhatsApp to Charge Businesses

WhatsApp to Charge Businesses”

WhatsApp has announced it would soon be launching features to take businesses onboard. Third, WhatsApp Business will help manage consumer chats.

Users can stop a business from contacting them by blocking them.

"The capabilities we are offering are free to use".

"We do intend on charging businesses in the future", COO Matt Idema told the Journal in an interview.

Facebook also began a more concerted push into business use, with its Workplace social network platform launch at the end of 2016. The Indian market is one that is particularly important for the app, given there are over 200 million active users, and this number will only continue to grow due to the vast popularity of the application.

WhatsApp hasn't yet said when the service will become available, but its FAQ confirms that it's now testing the business tool through a close pilot programme.

It was reported in March 2017 that a potential revenue source for WhatsApp was to charge businesses that want to contact customers, citing company documents. For instance, WhatsApp Business users flying KLM will get notifications on booking confirmations, seat assignments and flight schedules besides being able to submit specific requests on meal preferences, flight changes etc. India is the largest market for WhatsApp with over 200 million monthly active users as of February 2017. "India is very significant", Idema said.

"We're building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks", WhatsApp said in a blogpost. But WhatsApp wants to monetise its platform, and the only way to do that now, is to court businesses.

"We want to apply this same approach to bringing businesses onto WhatsApp in ways that create value for people". He was leading product marketing for all of Facebook's business products worldwide.

Editor's Remarks: Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $19bn and said that it would not put ads on the messaging app at the same time as ditching its $1 annual subscription fee.

For example, doctors in the UK National Health Service have been using WhatsApp and video messaging tool SnapChat to send sensitive patient information despite a strict ban on such use, while British diplomats apparently use it for confidential discussions - both examples of "shadow IT", where employees side-step outdated systems in favor of modern messaging tools.



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