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WhatsApp CEO confirms ads in Status; announces ‘Startup Challenge’ with Invest India


WhatsApp’s Vice President Chris Daniels visit to India has been an eventful affair. A series of revelations related to the messaging giant’s future plans for India and otherwise have come to light.

In the latest tryst, WhatsApp and Invest India have partnered to encourage growth in the startup ecosystem as well as the larger economy. One of the means to achieve that would be creating employment opportunities in India.

The Facebook-owned messaging app also promises to invest $250,000 in the top five winners of ‘WhatsApp Startup Challenge’ in a seed round. Additionally, selections would be made from the business community and their WhatsApp Business numbers will be promoted on Facebook. $250,000 is allotted to the latter plan as well.

For Invest India, the government arm that refers startups to investors, this is one of the largest corporate partnerships.

Separately, Daniels has also confirmed Facebook’s plans to monetise WhatsApp by running targeted advertisements in the Status section of the free-messaging application. This plan complements the social media giant’s plans to monetise Whatsapp for Business.

As per the plan, the application will show the ads in the Status section which will be linked to the advertiser’s profile on WhatsApp. Facebook will charge the advertisers in exchange of this service.

Daniels did not confirm the timeline by which this feature will be rolled out by the company but reports say that consumers will start seeing ads on the application in early 2019.

WhatsApp’s original founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum started the platform with no motives to make it a monetized platform or to integrate games or gimmicks on the interface, but after acquisition by Facebook, they left the company due to these very differences.

While these are two major developments announced by Daniels, the trip still continues and so do the matters like WhatsApp’s payment platform, data localisation, and if not anything else, the company’s moves to appoint India head and partner with Invest India vouch for its focus on the country’s market and economy.

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