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Exclusive: WhatsApp is in talks to launch a mobile payments in Indonesia: sources

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s (FB.D) of the messaging service WhatsApp has been in talks with several Indonesian digital payment companies offering mobile transaction services, in an effort to make the country’s fast-growing e-commerce sector, people familiar with the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: The-WhatsApp, the messaging application is displayed on a display screen of the phone by the 3rd of August 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

Indonesia was the second country in the world, WhatsApp, introduced or use such services, because it is waiting for the approval from India, the biggest market by users, and that it has been delayed as a result of a local data-storage rules and regulations.

However, unlike in India, where it plans to offer direct, peer-to-peer payment services, WhatsApp will just to serve as a platform for Indonesia’s support payments through the local digital wallet, as a result of the tough licensing requirements, the sources told Reuters.

The indonesian model is a template to use for Whatsapp in emerging markets to get around the rules for foreign players will create their own digital wallet, the sources said.

In indonesia, home to 260 million people in South-east Asia’s largest economy, has been one of the top five worldwide markets for Whatsapp, with more than a 100 million active users.

The nation is set to be the e-commerce industry to rise to $100 billion a year by 2025, according to some estimates, but it also has some of the region’s most severe in digital payments regulation.

There’s in advanced talks with a variety of digital-payments companies like journey hailer-Go-S, the mobile-payment company HE backed, by China’s Ant Financial and fintech startup FOCUS, which is owned by the Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group, and is also supported by away from his firm Grasp, the sources said.

Refers to the three companies is expected to be completed shortly, the people said, refusing to name the talks are private.

WhatsApp has also approached state-owned Bank Mandiri (BMRI.J-k), which is working with a “digital wallet,” she said.

The Indonesia’s plan comes after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year that the roll-out of WhatsApp, and payments to, certain countries.

“As Mark said earlier in the year, we are on the look out for digital payments to other countries,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters.

“WhatsApp is in talks with the financial services providers in Indonesia, as to payments, but the discussions are at an early stage, and we do not have anything further to share at this stage.”

The Go-S declined to comment. DANA, FOCUS, and Bank Mandiri does not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokeswoman for the Mandiri-backed e-wallet LinkAja said she couldn’t confirm the conversations from WhatsApp.

The service was originally scheduled to begin at the end of 2019 at the latest, however, two sources said that they expected a delay of a few months ‘ time, if WhatsApp would not want to have to start up in Indonesia for the indian market.

A source said: WhatsApp should be given a nod and a wink from the regulator, Bank Indonesia, before you move on. The Bank of Indonesia has not responded to requests for comment.

Reporting Fanny Potkin and Ed Davies; Additional reporting by Singapore bureau; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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