Facebook is planning to integrate Facebook Payments, a new platform that would be modeled on the hugely successful WeChat payment service in China, and would be leveraging a native cryptocurrency called Facebook Coin.
In Your Face
Facebook has rapidly taken over the lucrative space of mobile services from social networking to messaging, and as expected is pushing for more market domination as it prepares to roll out a bunch of new services. Facebook itself—the social platform—might not be commanding enough growth quota as it used to, but its sisters Instagram and Whatsapp are doing particularly well. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and founder generally pulled off a no-brainer by buying off possible competitors Instagram and Whatsapp and integrating them into a huge ecosystem instead, with the two platforms becoming the dominant driving force of Facebook’s ecosystem growth.
With the solid domination of Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp in the mobile industry, Facebook the company is looking to cash in on its popularity to create its own native cryptocurrency and encourage its users to transfer real money: a service that could further endear Facebook as a necessity bigger than the need to post photos and chat into the night.
Integration into Whatsapp
Integration of Facebook’s new model of payment into Whatsapp looks the most probable and logical, not only considering its user base and simplicity but due to the recent success, it had in India since the company launched the service.
A version of the Whatsapp Payment has been launched for a while in India—which has the highest number of Whatsapp users in the world—and the reviews have been great. The service is yet to be launched nationally to India’s 210 million Whatsapp monthly users but has gained significant clout with the more than a million Indians that have tested out the new payment platform.
“Indians want something they are used to in a language they can read and write in,” Rastogi, a former employee of NCPI explained why Whatsapp was having so much success in India.
“WhatsApp’s willingness to provide services in 13 major languages in India can play a vital role in taking digitization of payments even to villages.”
Whatsapp is Not WeChat
The new Facebook payment platform would target the United States as a significant platform but Choi Chun, a senior analyst at China-based market research firm iResearch, told CNBC that he doesn’t see Facebook Payments having the same success given the terrains are different. While WeChat has become a super-app in China where you can obtain microloans, buy games, and book flights at the leisure of sending an emojis, US citizens financial knowledge and clout might be more significant than service already.
“A large chunk of WeChat Pay revenues are generated from commission dollars from online shopping within WeChat and wealth management services, which I don’t think Facebook would be able to tap into as the online shopping sector, and wealth management sector are already mature in the U.S,” he said.