WhatsApp in talks for the launch of digital payments in Indonesia
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WhatsApp in talks for the launch of digital payments in Indonesia

By Stefano Cavalli - 21 Aug 2019

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Messaging giant WhatsApp, which since February 2014 has been part of Facebook Inc., is negotiating with several Indonesian digital payment companies in order to support mobile transactions, harnessing the e-commerce wave that is growing rapidly across the country.

However, strict Indonesian regulations are delaying the time it may take to a date yet to be defined. Unlike India, however, where Zuckerberg plans to offer six peer-to-peer payment services directly, in Indonesia it will only serve to support the integration of several local wallets.

This model could be adopted by WhatsApp in other emerging markets in order to circumvent regulations on foreign companies that create their own wallets, sources told Reuters. However, it is a country with 260 million people and is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, one of the top 5 WhatsApp users in the world with over 100 million active users.

According to some estimates, the e-commerce sector is expected to triple to $100 billion in 2025 and WhatsApp is in advanced negotiations with several digital payment companies, including Go-Jek, DANA and the fintech startup OVO, owned by the conglomerate Lippo Group.

Indonesia was chosen after Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year that he would include digital payments within WhatsApp for some countries.

“As Mark has said earlier this year … we are looking to bring digital payments to more countries”,

a Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters.

“WhatsApp is in conversations with financial partners in Indonesia about payments, however the discussions are in early stages and we do not have anything further to share at this stage”.

All the companies refused to give comments to Reuters and to provide further information.

Initially, the service was scheduled for the end of 2019, but some sources said that this would be delayed by several months as WhatsApp wanted to wait for India before moving to Indonesia.

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