Meta’s messaging service WhatsApp launches its first end-to-end e-commerce service in India through a partnership with Jio Platforms, the digital business and mobile subsidiary of giant conglomerate Reliance Industries.
“This is the first end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp. You can now buy groceries from JioMart directly in chat.” Business messaging is a real dynamism field and chat like this Base Experience will be the preferred way for people and businesses to communicate for years to come, said Mark Zuckerberg in a launch announcement released on Monday.
“Our vision is to advance India as a leading global digital society. When Jio Platforms and Meta announced their partnership in 2020, Mark and I shared our vision to bring more people and businesses online and create truly innovative solutions that transform everyday life in India. Making people’s lives easier, said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and CEO of Reliance Industries.”
WhatsApp’s shopping experience is limited to India and an online grocery store known as JioMart Catalogue. The service is initiated by sending a ‘hello’ to JioMart’s phone number on WhatsApp.
Once considered a check of encryption and user privacy, the messaging app was acquired by Facebook Inc (now Meta) for his $19 billion in 2014.
WhatsApp is free and Meta struggles to monetize the service. It does not explain how Indian e-commerce connectivity can solve this problem.
Meta also owns part of Jio Platforms and has deposited $5.7 billion to acquire a 9.99% stake in April 2022.
Funds will likely flow into Meta as a result of this deal, presumably to show how the company plans to leverage his over 2 billion WhatsApp users.
Upon its investment in Jio, the company formerly known as Facebook, said the purpose of the deal is for Meta to gain a presence in India through customer contacts and acquisitions of local businesses via WhatsApp.
The country has made anticompetitive criticisms of the company’s plans, including plans to offer free internet access associated with Facebook, which regulators scrapped in 2015.
This proposed service would have used the Reliance Communications network.
India has generally sought, sometimes through legislation and by independent government-run e-commerce aggregators, to limit the market power of technology giants designed to sell online without competing with Amazon or Walmart did controlled Flipkart.
India’s Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Regulations 2020 bans flash sales, a tactic used by big tech companies to dominate the market, and the requirement that users be able to import certain goods sold on online marketplaces.
It eloquently demonstrates government policy, including the requirement that Indian e-commerce is currently dominated by companies such as Amazon and Flipkart, each with about a third of the market share.
It’s hard to imagine how an outsider would blaze a trail, but Reliance Jio’s 400+ million users give Meta a good starting point.
However, mega presence alone does not guarantee success.