Paytm announced that it is developing a messaging service that aims to rival Facebook’s WhatsApp.
The India-based company plans to have the service ready by the end of August, a source close to the matter noted.
SoftBank and Alibaba assisted Paytm in attracting people in India to use the new messaging service that is embedded in the app. Paytm’s messaging service will allow users to send audio, video, texts, and photos, similar to WhatsApp. It will also introduce the video call function which will be available immediately after the launch, according to one source.
Paytm currently has over 225 million users. Earlier this year, another messaging platform, Hike, rolled out an in-app electronic payments service to cash in on rising digital transactions in India.
E-payments in India surged drastically after the country banned old high-value currency notes late last year due to demonetization. Firms like Paytm have rapidly increased their market share by capitalizing on the opportunity. Digital payments in India jumped nearly 10 times to $500 billion by 2020, according to a 2016 report by Boston Consulting Group.
WhatsApp itself has been looking at moving into digital payment services in India although no confirmations have been made.The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported Paytm’s plan to launch a messaging service. Paytm did not respond to an email seeking comment while WhatsApp was not immediately reachable for comment.