Whatsapp might be working on a business feature for small enterprises that will soon pilot in India, its biggest market, according to reports.
WhatsApp for Business, a version of the app, will help enterprises with 10 employees or less to manage their clients better. This is also the instant messaging giant’s first attempt at monetization after eight years of ad-free, subscription-free existence It comes soon after WhatsApp hired its first COO, Matt Idema, who was reportedly brought in to monetize the platform, three years since Facebook’s $22-billion acquisition.
The new feature is currently in the design-and-testing phase, says Forbes, and after a pilot launch in India, the company might roll it out to other regions. Mashable reached out to WhatsApp for comment.
“We build every WhatsApp feature to be simple, reliable, and secure, and this vision is in line with what Digital India promises to achieve. We will continue to invest so we can help more people across India, and we hope to contribute more to India’s vision for digital commerce in the future,” said a company spokesperson. India with 200 million monthly active users makes up 15% of WhatsApp’s overall user base. The platform recorded a massive 14 billion messages from the country on New Year’s Eve alone, the highest in the world.
India is also parent company Facebook’s fastest-growing market, with 155 million users in 2016.
However, WhatsApp isn’t the first tech major to pilot a service in India.
Earlier this year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai on his visit to the country, admitted that the search giant had successfully tested global products, including YouTube’s offline service, in India and rolled it out to other markets later. He said that India adopts “remarkably” fast to new services.
WhatsApp for Business is on the lines of Facebook at Work (the tech major’s enterprise solution) and Google’s recently announced “Digital Unlocked” initiative that aims to bring India’s 51 million small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) online.
It’d be interesting to find out what WhatsApp has in store.