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Paytm offers chat to ward off rival WhatsApp

SoftBank now has two chat app-based service providers, including Hike, to take on WhatsApp

Karan Choudhury  |  New Delhi 

Mobile wallet
There is a need for social messaging, commerce and payments seamlessly blending into one another

Gauging threat from global chat app giant WhatsApp, online major on Thursday launched its own version of a chat feature on the app. The company launched ‘Inbox’, a messaging platform with in-chat payments. 

The messaging service will allow consumers to chat with friends and family, and send and request money at the same time. The messaging platform is encrypted end to end and users can initiate private conversations and create group chats, according to the company.

“They can also send photos and videos instantly, share live location, and capture and share moments with the built-in camera. There is also a feature allowing users to recall their messages using ‘Delete for All’. Inbox is live on and will be available to users soon,” the company said. has over 230 million users who avail services, including online, recharges, utility payments, travel and ticketing. 

This is the second company funded by that has created a chat-based services and payments platform. The Kavin Bharti Mittal-led chat app Hike also added payments feature on its platform. According to sources, it plans to add merchants to the interface to create an ecosystem similar to China’s  

“We have realised that besides making payments, our users and merchants also like to communicate with each other. There is a need for social messaging, commerce and payments seamlessly blending into one another. This will help us drive greater engagement on our platform and build a stronger bond with our customers,” said Deepak Abbot, senior vice-president,

SoftBank, according to market sources, will use these two to compete with WhatsApp, which will soon start payments on its platform. From e-ticketing, delivery updates from online marketplaces, paying utility bills, buying a variety of financial services to booking a plumber, the world’s largest chat application with over a billion users is rapidly adding a host of products to its portal, making it a whole service-based ecosystem.

With over 200 million active users in India, WhatsApp, owned by giant Facebook, is all set to create an ecosystem where its users can avail a host of services and pay on the platform via its wallet, which it is poised to launch.

The company is already in a tie-up with and and, according to sources, is set to add e-commerce marketplace Flipkart on its platform. The company is also in talks with various electricity boards, telecom players and government utilities to add them on the platform so that users can pay bills via the app and also be in touch with them for assistance. It was also in talks with online movie and event ticketing as well as services marketplaces, sources said.

Tech Tonic
  • has launched ‘Inbox’, a messaging platform with in-chat payments, on the app
  • The messaging service will allow consumers to chat with friends and family, and send and request money at the same time
  • The messaging platform is encrypted end-to-end and users can initiate conversations and create group chats
  • Inbox is live on and will be available to users soon
  • is the second firm funded by that has created chat-based services & payments platform

First Published: Fri, November 03 2017. 01:38 IST
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