Mark Zuckerberg said that India is a very unique and interesting country with a phenomenal entrepreneurial community.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, received approval last month from the National Payments Corporation of India to roll out its payment services in India.
On Tuesday, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said India is a very special and significant country with a remarkable culture of entrepreneurship, as he sought to push deeper into the just-launched payment services that allow users to make WhatsApp payments.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, received approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) last month to roll out its payment services in India. In 2018, with about a million users, WhatsApp began testing its UPI-based payment services in India — a global first.
Last month, we just launched WhatsApp payments in India—now you can send money through WhatsApp to your friends and family, as easily as sending a message. That was possible because of the UPI system built in India, Mr. Zuckerberg said during a fireside chat with Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries.
He said the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) makes it easy for anyone to accept payments instantly across various applications.
Mr. Zuckerberg said, referring to the late Dhirubhai Ambani’s vision of affordable connectivity in the country, “…” Indians can interact with each other today at less than the cost of a postcard, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do with messaging… And hopefully, together with payments, we can do that and make it so that people can use the new UPI system in India, which I think is just great.’
WhatsApp has started its payments service in the country in a “graded manner following the NPCI approval, starting with a maximum registered UPI user base of 20 million. WhatsApp will compete with players like Paytm, Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe, and Amazon Pay in the nation, which counts India as its biggest market with over 400 million users.
Facebook announced an investment in Jio Platforms of $5.7 billion (~43,574 crores) in April.
I don’t hesitate to record that it is your investment that has set the ball rolling. Mukesh Ambani said, not only for Jio but for the Indian FDI, which was the largest ever in its history.
He added that Jio and Facebook’s partnership will “actually show that it is great for India, Indians, and small Indian businesses.”
“And I believe, Mark, that in the coming months and years, our actions will speak louder than our words,” Mr. Ambani said.
Mr. Ambani stated that technology will democratize wealth and value creation for individuals and small businesses, with all the digitization steps that India has taken.
Noting that in India, WhatsApp and Jio have hundreds of millions of subscribers, Mr. Ambani said Jio Mart’s retail service aims to “serve India’s tens of millions of small shopkeepers, who are the foundation of employment.”
This means Jio brings digital connectivity, WhatsApp now brings digital interactivity with WhatsApp Pay, and the ability to move to close transactions and create value and Jio Mart brings the unique opportunity for online and offline retail, which gives our small shops in Indian villages and small towns a chance to digitize and be at par with anyone else in the world,” he added.”
Mr. Zuckerberg said that India has introduced a lot of innovation in areas such as education and financial inclusion and that the decisions taken here are shaping the global debate on how technology can provide more economic opportunities and better results for individuals and businesses.
He said India is an important country for the social media giant, and here many of the new features rolled out in its different products are first tested.
India is building local capacity and technology capabilities to empower innovative new business models and provide digital and financial inclusion for Indian citizens. Therefore the decisions made here shape the global debate about how technology can drive more economic opportunities and better outcomes for individuals, he said. Zuckerberg also said that many Indian organizations are leading the way in building safer communities and more inclusive financial systems using technology.
There’s a lot of innovation going on here, whether it’s in social commerce or in education or financial services. And we’re proud to be partnering with some of the teams working on these major challenges… India is an important and very special country for us,’ he said.
Mr. Zuckerberg said millions of small businesses across the nation are using WhatsApp Business and Messenger to reach customers to manage orders and grow their businesses, saying that millions of Indians use their products (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp) each day to stay connected.
“… We are in the business of serving small enterprises, and this is no more true than it is in India. This is particularly important because small businesses here are going to be a key part of the future global recovery. And we’re focused on making sure we’re building the best instruments for them,’ he added.
He also said the company is focused on ensuring that it “delivers for all” technology and that was one of the reasons for partnering with Indian telecom major Reliance Jio, which has “played such a key role in providing access to the benefits of the internet to hundreds of millions of Indians” and promoting this entrepreneurial culture.