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WhatsApp Business goes live in five countries, will roll out in India soon

WhatsApp Business has finally made a debut on Google Play store but India is still a few weeks away to experience it.

At present, the Android-only app lets businesses to display information such as a business description, email or store addresses including the website.

The instant messaging app enables businesses to save time with smart messaging tools — quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.

WhatsApp Business will remain free in the long term, however, the Facebook-owned company plans on charging for additional capabilities in the future.

The app is live on Google Play Store in countries including Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. The app is rolling out around the world in the coming weeks, mentions the company’s blog post.

Importantly, people will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam.

Unlike individual WhatsApp account, people will know that they’re talking to a business as they will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have ‘Confirmed Accounts’ once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.

WhatsApp in India has collaborated with ticket booking platform BookMyShow, hotel rooms aggregator OYO and airlines Spicejet and Indigo for launching WhatsApp Business in the country.

India is the largest market for WhatsApp with a user base of 200 million. The company is also slated to integrate Unified Payment Interface (UPI) for enabling payment for various services through the app. Going forward, it would be interesting to see how WhatsApp will integrate UPI layer with tools it’s building for businesses.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp is also gearing to launch its UPI-enabled payment service by next month. The payment platform is already in beta stage and expected to go live for consumers by the end of February.

The company has already partnered with banks including State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank.

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