London: Facebook has chosen London as the centre for the global roll-out of WhatsApp pay, before the social media giant launches its digital payments service on the mobile messaging platform in India, according to a media report. WhatsApp, which has1.5 billion users globally, would hire nearly 100 people in London to focus on the digital payments service and additional operations staff would be hired in Dublin, the Financial Times reported.
Facebook said it chose the UK, where WhatsApp is far more popular than the US because it attracts a multicultural workforce from many of the countries where WhatsApp is widely used, such as India, the report said. Out of WhatsApp user base of 1.5 billion people, more than 200 million people are in India — the single largest market for the popular messaging platform.
“WhatsApp is a truly global service and these teams will help us provide WhatsApp payments and other great features for our users everywhere,” Matthew Idema, WhatsApp’s Chief Operating Officer, was quoted as saying. WhatsApp has nearly 400 employees globally. While its most popular markets are India, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, it has not established a local office anywhere until late last year, when it hired an India head in time for the country’s elections.
Last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company is actively working on to launch WhatsApp Pay in India. “We have a test that is running in India for WhatsApp now, we’re hoping to launch in several other countries at some point, but I don’t want to put a timeframe on that here, but it’s something that we’re actively working on,” he said during an earnings call with analysts.
Almost one million people tested WhatsApp Pay in India to send money to each other in a simple and secure way. In April, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came out with a circular regarding data localisation policy for payment system providers. Generally, data localisation refers to storing data within India. The company on May 3 told the Supreme Court that it would comply with the Reserve Bank of India’s data localisation norms before launching the full payments service in the country.