[TechSparks 2020] WhatsApp to launch shopping features in a few months; drive financial inclusion in India: Abhijit Bose

At TechSparks 2020, WhatsApp India Head Abhijit Bose spoke on scaling small businesses and driving financial inclusion in the country. WhatsApp is also doing "controlled pilots" for a bunch of new services.
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WhatsApp is looking to scale up its commerce and B2B offerings in India — its largest market in the world with 400 million users — over the next few months.

In the next few months, the Facebook-owned messaging service will launch "shopping buttons and business catalogues" for users to discover products, and "buy directly within chat", WhatsApp India Head Abhijit Bose said at TechSparks 2020.

"We will enable businesses to complete a transaction with a single click. India is our largest market and we look to scale up its digital economy," he said.

Abhijit shared that over 15 million businesses in India already use WhatsApp Business to "connect with their customers". The tech firm is looking to scale that up further across key segments, including fintech and financial services, health and government initiatives, education and learning, and of course, mobile commerce.

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Solving for India means solving globally

WhatsApp's reach in India as a messaging service that connects friends, families, and peers is undeniable. The Silicon Valley-based company hopes to replicate its C2C success in its B2B and B2B2C products in the country.

It believes that India is a "global template" for other markets. "We have two billion users in 180 countries. But if we can solve a problem in India and scale that template, we can solve for any market in the world," Abhijit stated.

WhatsApp is also doing pilots to scale up micro pensions, health insurance, and rural banking across underserved locations in India. This is being done in partnership with banks, financial services, and health insurance providers, who are building their own solutions using WhatsApp API.

Abhijit explained, "We are doing controlled pilots, and based on user reactions, we will be investing in and scaling up these solutions. WhatsApp will partner with fintech players to reduce the friction in the micro pension application process for low-income segments. We will also scale up access to insurance for the underserved population by enabling health insurance providers to roll out sachet insurance."

The company hopes India to mirror a global trend — over 175 million users communicate with WhatsApp Business accounts per day. "We expect this to grow as the economy and customer preferences become more digital," Abhijit said.  

For more information on TechSparks 2020, check out our TechSparks 2020 website. Sign up here to join the event. 


TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.

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Edited by Megha Reddy