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WhatsApp Message Leads To Stock Drop In India

India

Bad news and rumors seem to travel more quickly than good news, and that’s certainly true in the digital age. The latest example? A WhatsApp message that caused a significant stock price drop in India for an eCommerce firm.

The trouble reportedly involves not only the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging service, but also India-based Infibeam, an eCommerce operator.

According to Bloomberg on Friday (Sept. 28), a message “attributed to brokerage Equirus Securities Pvt. began to be distributed on WhatsApp. The message was sent a few months ago by an Equirus analyst to some clients and resurfaced on the messaging platform Thursday, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified as they aren’t authorized to speak on the issue.”

The message reportedly put into question Infibeam’s accounting practices for its iPhone and iPad retail activities. Infibeam’s stock then lost 71 percent of its market value on a single day.

“In a separate August note, Equirus said the company’s eCommerce business was adding 1,500 merchants every month, with revenues growing 100 percent annually in the past five years,” Bloomberg reported, adding that the brokerage firm offered no comment on the matter.

Infibeam isn’t just about retail. It has set its eyes on B2B payments in order to allow corporates to pay their utility bills and other invoices.

WhatsApp, meanwhile, is seeking a bigger profile in India.

It was facing a delay from the country’s government for the planned nationwide launch of the WhatsApp payment service in India. The company has launched a payments feature in India that now has at least one million users. The payment service is based on the Unified Payments Interface of the NPCI. By using that, WhatsApp eliminates the step of requiring a customer to load up a digital wallet. With the service, users can make payments directly from their bank accounts via a virtual ID, noted the report.

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