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India to play 'crucial role' in WhatsApp's business solutions

Of its over 1 billion users, about 200 million are in India

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

India to play 'crucial role' in WhatsApp's business solutions

Messaging app is working on solutions to enable businesses to use its platform to connect with consumers and will play a "crucial role" for the product, a company official said on Wednesday.

Last year, the Facebook-owned company had said will test tools that allow users to communicate with businesses and organisations like banks and airlines through its platform.

While does not intend to introduce any third- party ads, it is looking at ways to monetise the platform and working with businesses could be a step in that direction.

WhatsApp remains free for consumers.

"... We are definitely in building the product phase. So, what you will see over the year is different tests, both for small and large businesses, and figuring out what's a good experience for these businesses on WhatsApp," WhatsApp spokesperson Matt Steinfeld said.

He further said: "is going to play a crucial role in that."

is the biggest market for WhatsApp. Of its over one billion users, about 200 million are here. In India, it competes with the likes of Hike and

Facebook, on its part, has a strong focus on bringing businesses to its platform as well. Over five million businesses globally actively advertise on

WhatsApp has been working on introducing features to enhance engagement on the platform. It had recently launched a story feature to allow users to express their thoughts using pictures and animations.

WhatsApp is also attempting to foray into digital payment services, with India as a test bed. The company is looking to hire a digital transactions head for the country.

In February, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton had met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss ways in which WhatsApp could contribute to India's vision for digital commerce.

"We listen very carefully to feedback from people across India and how to better serve them. India is obviously our largest country and it's going to be one of the most important markets," Steinfeld pointed out.

He added that the company is keen to understand how it can contribute more to the vision of

Following the government's move to recall old notes of Rs 500 and 1,000 in November last year, there has been a massive growth in digital transaction volumes in India, including credit and debit cards, mobile banking and m-wallets and UPI.

First Published: Wed, April 26 2017. 17:20 IST