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Whatsapp appoints ex-Amazon executive as head of payments in India

WhatsApp on Monday said it has appointed former Amazon executive Manesh Mahatme as Director to lead the growth of its payments business in India.

As Director WhatsApp Payments – India, Mahatme will focus on enhancing the payments experience for users, scaling the service offering and work towards contributing to WhatsApp’s vision of digital and financial inclusion in India, a statement said.

He has 17 years of experience in digital financial services and payments across Citibank, Airtel Money and Amazon. He joins WhatsApp from Amazon where he spent close to seven years as Director and Board member of Amazon Pay India and led product, engineering, and growth teams, the statement said.

“We are excited to have Manesh join our WhatsApp India team. Manesh has been one of key innovators driving the growth of digital payments in India over the last decade, and his experience will help us maximise the impact and scale of payments on WhatsApp,” Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp in India, said.

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WhatsApp has immense potential to digitally empower people across segments and help accelerate the Government of India’s efforts to drive financial inclusion through UPI and digital payments, he added.

In 2018, the Facebook-owned company had started testing its UPI-based payments service in India, which allows users to utilise the messaging platform to send and receive money. The testing was limited to about a million users as it waited for regulatory approvals to come in.

In November last year, WhatsApp received nod from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to start its payments service in the country in a “graded” manner, starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million in UPI.

In India, WhatsApp – which counts India as its biggest market – will compete with players like Paytm, Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe and Amazon Pay.

As per data cited by the government, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users.

Mahatme said Payments on WhatsApp is uniquely placed to be a significant partner in the country’s growth agenda by making digital payments accessible to users across the length and breadth of India. “I am super excited to be a part of this growth story, Mahatme added.

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