Facebook Inc. is in talks with a number of Indonesian digital payment firms to discuss mobile transaction services on the platform. This follows an announcement made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year, detailing plans to roll out WhatsApp payments in some countries.
Indonesia has a thriving e-commerce economy, with the sector expected to be worth $100 billion by 2025. Indonesia is also one of WhatsApp’s top five global markets, with more than 100 million users in the country.
If agreements between Facebook and the digital payment firms can be reached, Indonesia will become the second country where WhatsApp introduces payment services – these are currently awaiting regulatory approval in India, where direct peer-to-peer payment services are set to launch as soon as they are approved.
Should talks be successful, WhatsApp will not offer the same peer-to-peer payment services that it wants to launch in India but will rather become a platform that supports payments using local digital wallets, in order to adhere to tough licensing regulations.
According to reports, WhatsApp is in advanced talks with the Indonesian mobile payments firm DANA, the ride-hailer service Go-Jek and the fintech start-up OVO, and the messaging service is said to also have approached the state-owned Bank Mandiri.
It remains to be seen when exactly mobile payments will launch in Indonesia, but there are rumours that it could be as soon as early next year.
Facebook has long planned a foray into financial services, and the company announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency with Project Libra earlier this year. It also announced in May that it was looking into better monetising its messaging app WhatsApp, by starting to display ads on the status page of the app.