“We have received the data localization compliance system audit report from WhatsApp, which shall be reviewed in the next few weeks,” a Mumbai-based representative for NCPI said, according to Bloomberg.
The review will determine if and when WhatsApp can enter the country’s crowded digital market, where it will compete with more than 80 rivals on the NPCI platform, including Google and Amazon. India’s digital payments market is expected to hit $1 trillion by 2023, according to a report by Credit Suisse Group AG.
Since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed in April that WhatsApp Pay is coming to India, the marketplace has been bracing for the latest entrance. In India, WhatsApp has more than 300 million users, while Facebook brings an additional 300 million Indian customers. In fact, it’s been reported that once its service is up and running, it will easily surpass Paytm, which has more than 230 million users in India.
“Indians love WhatsApp and will love the convenience of transacting through the app,” Prabhu Ram, head of the Industry Intelligence Group at CMR, said in May. “I foresee a trend wherein entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises start embracing and using WhatsApp Pay. This will contribute to, and increase their creditworthiness. In turn, this trend will enable them to easily borrow credit from formal sources, such as banks.”
WhatsApp Pay, which is facilitated by the Indian government’s UPI payments system, began testing its service in the country earlier this year with around 1 million users.
“Restrictions on adding new customers will continue for WhatsApp as of now,” said Dilip Asbe, CEO of NPCI, in a recent Bloomberg interview. “Once the regulator has gone through the report from the third-party auditor on data compliance, we will take further steps accordingly.”