Facebook the highly controversial social media giant developing the Libra global stablecoin, is in talks with Indonesian digital payment platforms and fintech firms to enable it to launch a WhatsApp-based mobile payments service in the region, reports Reuters on August 20, 2019.
Facebook Interested in Indonesia
In a bid to take advantage of Indonesia’s rapidly growing e-commerce sector, WhatsApp, the messaging app of Facebook is reportedly seeking to collaborate with local digital payment firms to make their services available on the platform.
Per sources close to the matter, Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, is one of WhatsApp’s strongholds, with over 100 million people using the messaging app in the region and the country’s e-commerce sector is predicted to grow to $100 billion by 2025.
However, due to the government’s harsh policies concerning digital payments, WhatsApp has reportedly been unable to get the seal of approval from regulators to develop its own payments service.
Against that backdrop, WhatsApp has decided to forge alliances with local fintechs and other companies including DANA, a mobile payments firm backed by Ant Financial, an affiliated company of China’s Alibaba Group, ride hailer, Go-Jek and financial technology startup, OVO.
That’s not all, WhatsApp is also in talks with Bank Mandiri, a state-owned financial institution that also runs a digital wallet.
If all goes as planned, WhatsApp is expected to conclude negotiations with the firms shortly, however, it remains unclear when the service would go live, as sources close to the development have hinted that WhatsApp may be interested in rolling out its payments service in India first before Indonesia.
Since 2018, Facebook has been making plans to develop a Whatsapp-based payments solution to tap India’s multi-billion-dollar remittance ecosystem.
Despite the fact that Facebook’s peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service previously offered via Messenger, to users in France, the U.K and the U.S., failed to gain significant traction, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team remain determined to make their presence felt in the payments ecosystem by introducing digital payments to several nations.
“WhatsApp is in talks with financial partners in Indonesia about payments, however, the conversations are in early stages and we do not have anything further to share with the public at this stage,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters.
In related news, Facebook and its Project Libra team are yet to get on the same page with global financial regulators and the team has hinted that Libra crypto may not go live in 2020 as scheduled if the project fails to secure approval from regulators.
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