WhatsApp has hired a senior Amazon official to run the payments business in India as the messaging company prepares to expand into the booming industry.
Manesh Mahatme, who has worked with Amazon Pay for nearly seven years, will join the WhatsApp payment service, one of the sources said.
WhatsApp and Amazon Pay were not immediately available for comment. Mahatme declined to comment.
With over 500 million users, WhatsApp ranks India as its largest market, where it is the latest addition to India’s digital payments industry, which PwC and the Indian industry association ASSOCHAM estimate will be worth $ 135 billion by 2023.
WhatsApp received a late approval last year to launch its payment system in India. However, so far, regulators have limited the introduction of WhatsApp to 20 million users.
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But it has big ambitions, and a deal Facebook struck last year to invest $ 5.7 billion in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s digital unit, Jio Platforms, will allow WhatsApp to provide payment services to millions of people.
“Mahatme is a staunch payment professional, this is the missing link for WhatsApp,” said one of the sources.
As a director, Mahatme led a team of senior product, engineering and business development managers at Amazon Pay, as evidenced by his LinkedIn profile.
WhatsApp is also considering deepening its partnership with banks to offer financial services like pensions and insurance, Indian chief Abhijit Bose, also a payments industry veteran, said last year.