WhatsApp’s first head for India, Abhijit Bose, has written a detailed letter outlining the key areas where the messaging app plans to focus in 2019. Bose was appointed the head of WhatsApp in India in November 2018.
He was earlier the CEO and co-founder of digital payments company Ezetap. The WhatsApp India head is an alumnus of Harvard Business School.
In his letter, Bose has outlined how WhatsApp is being used by small businesses to connect with their customers, and he said there are several examples of how WhatsApp can help some of these small business owners in scaling up.
WhatsApp’s own research has shown that 70 per cent of small businesses using the platform said they built the business on the service, while 77 per cent said they were able to hire more employees and saw more growth after they joined WhatsApp.
To recall WhatsApp has already launched a Business version of its app for small and medium enterprises, who can setup an account on the service to connect with customers. WhatsApp is also working with bigger enterprises and businesses like BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip, etc to help them connect with customers on the platform itself.
Bose also talked about the issue of WhatsApp Payments, noting that the company is working to ensure that payments on the platform are fast and secure. WhatsApp Payments have remained in beta-testing mode in India, and was supposed to fully roll out last year, but that has not happened over privacy concerns, according to an earlier Bloomberg report.
The WhatsApp India head also talked about building partnerships with home-grown tech companies, though he did not specify any names as such. He also said that the messaging app is committed to keeping users safe, and that private messaging will be crucial for this.
The letter also talks about WhatsApp restricting the spread of viral content, and its ad campaigns to educate users against spreading misinformation. He also said he will work closely will all stakeholders in India for these safety goals.
WhatsApp has faced criticism in India over the spread of misinformation on the platform, which has in some cases led to violent mobs attacks. WhatsApp has also faced increasing pressure from the government in India on what it steps it has taken to curb the problem.