Meta’s WhatsApp, the popular messaging platform, has plans to become more versatile. Like China’s WeChat, Meta wants WhatsApp to become a do-it-all platform for managing everyday life – from shopping to paying rent to transferring money. India banned WeChat and some other Chinese apps in 2020, but WhatsApp is super popular in the country – India has WhatsApp’s largest user base globally, with nearly 400 million users. In 2020, Meta also invested US$6 billion in Reliance Industries, the Indian tech company that runs JioMart, an e-commerce platform.
So yesterday, Meta announced its latest WhatsApp development to roll out in India – launching the first end-to-end shopping experience on the platform. By just texting “Hi” to the JioMart number on WhatsApp, users can browse the in-app grocery store, add items to their cart, pay and arrange delivery, all without leaving the app. Meta will continue to roll out features like this in other countries, but for now, this will only be available in India.
“Business messaging is an area with real momentum and chat-based experiences like this will be the go-to way people and businesses communicate in the years to come,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Facebook.
“Our vision is to propel India as the world’s leading digital society. When Jio platforms and Meta announced our partnership in 2020, Mark and I shared a vision of bringing more people and businesses online and creating truly innovative solutions that will add convenience to the daily lives of every Indian,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries. “The JioMart on WhatsApp experience furthers our commitment of enabling a simple and convenient way of online shopping to millions of Indians.”