WhatsApp is in talks with several Indonesian digital payment companies to offer their mobile transaction services, with the aim of appealing to the country’s growing e-commerce sector.
Indonesia could become the second country in the world where WhatsApp would introduce such services, pending regulatory approval from India, its largest user-driven market, which has been delayed due to local data storage rules.
The Indonesia model could become a template for Whatsapp to adopt in other emerging markets to get around regulations on foreign players creating their own digital wallets, the sources said.
Indonesia, home to 260 million people and Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is one of the top-five markets globally for Whatsapp, with over 100 million users.
According to some estimates, the e-commerce sector is expected to triple to 100 billion dollars by 2025, but it also applies the most stringent regulations for digital payments.
WhatsApp is in advanced talks with several digital payments firms including ride hailer Go-Jek, mobile payments firm DANA, backed by China’s Ant Financial, and fintech startup OVO, which is owned by Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group and is also backed by ride hailing company Grab, the sources said.
Deals with the three firms are expected to be finalised shortly, the people said, declining to be named as the talks are private.
WhatsApp has also approached state-owned Bank Mandiri, which operates a digital wallet, they said.
The service was originally scheduled to start in late 2019, but two sources said they expect a delay of several months because WhatsApp would not want to be launched in Indonesia before India.
A source said WhatsApp would need a sign of approval from the regulator Bank of Indonesia before proceeding. Bank Indonesia did not respond to requests from comment.
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17 November, 2019