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Facebook is planning to use London as a hub to accelerate the payment efforts of WhatsApp, its chat app, per Financial Times. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at the F8 developer conference that WhatsApp’s mobile payments will launch in several countries this year, saying he believes "it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo."
London was chosen because WhatsApp is more popular in the UK than the US, and it attracts talent from countries where WhatsApp is popular, like India. Late last year, WhatsApp engineers were sent to London to start recruiting for the 100-person team dedicated to this payments push.
This announcement comes on the heels of WhatsApp Pay’s full launch in India. WhatsApp Pay, the chat app’s digital payment service, officially launched in India — its largest market where it counts 300 million users — following a successful pilot last year in which it reached 1 million users.
Identifying other markets where WhatsApp is extremely popular, and where there’s a need for digital payment solutions, could allow Facebook to replicate the preliminary success its seen in India.
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