Business

Ed Drake

WhatsApp reportedly plans mobile payments launch in Indonesia

Messaging app WhatsApp is in discussion with a number of local partners on proposals that would see the firm introduce mobile payment services in Indonesia, Reuters reported.

Sources close to the project told the news outlet that WhatsApp is already in talks with several digital payment companies in Indonesia over the proposals, which would see the firm extend mobile payments to consumers nationwide.

The move would be the second such rollout from WhatsApp, after previously setting up payment services for users in India. However, the launch in India is still in the hands of regulators, after delays resulting from data storage regulations in the country.

The app is reported to be planning a slimmed down version of the India-facing service, with sources suggesting WhatsApp will act as a platform for local digital wallet transactions, rather than offering peer-to-peer transactions itself, according to the report.

Nevertheless, the plans would be a significant boost for consumers in Indonesia, and in particular for the country’s growing ecommerce sector, giving shoppers access to more efficient digital payments for buying goods and services through the platform.

Citing the toughening regulatory climate on transaction providers, sources quoted in Reuters suggest the platform-model could serve as a template for WhatsApp to expand similar services in other regulated jurisdictions worldwide.

Indonesia is one of WhatsApp’s top five global markets, with the app being used by over 100 million of the country’s 260 million population.

Despite a comparatively strict licensing regime for digital payment providers, Indonesia’s ecommerce market is set to be worth $100 billion by 2025.

In comments made earlier this year, a spokesperson for Facebook confirmed WhatsApp was considering proposals:

WhatsApp is in conversations with financial partners in Indonesia about payments, however the discussions are in early stages and we do not have anything further to share at this stage.

At the time, the comments followed a statement from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, suggesting WhatsApp would roll out payments in “some countries.”

The proposals look set to introduce tens of millions of consumers to digital payments and wallet services for the first time, in a move that could be a significant step towards mainstream adoption in the country.

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