WhatsApp names Abhijit Bose as India Head

WhatsApp names Abhijit Bose as India Head

New Delhi: Popular messaging app WhatsApp Wednesday named Abhijit Bose as its India Head, meeting one of the key demands made by the Indian government.

Bose, who will join the messaging platform early next year, will build WhatsApp's first full country team outside of California and will be based in Gurugram, WhatsApp said in a statement.

Bose and his team will focus on helping businesses, both large and small, connect with their customers, it added.

WhatsApp is deeply committed to India and we are excited to keep building products that help people connect and support India's fast-growing digital economy," Matt Idema, Chief Operating Officer of WhatsApp, said.

As a successful entrepreneur himself, Bose knows what it takes to build meaningful partnerships that can serve businesses across India, he added.

He joins WhatsApp from Ezetap where he has served as co-founder and CEO. Founded in 2011, Ezetap is an electronic payments company backed by top-tier Venture Capitalists.

The appointment comes at a time when the Facebook-owned company has been under tremendous pressure to put in place a mechanism to curb fake messages on its platform, that incited mob fury.

The government has been pressing WhatsApp to develop tools to combat fake or false messages, and also identify message originators.

Apart from the traceability request, the government had asked WhatsApp to set up a local corporate presence and appoint a grievance officer to address complaints. Whatsapp has recently appointed a grievance officer for India.

Following multiple incidents of mob-lynching across the country, the government had slapped WhatsApp with two notices, with the second one warning that it will treat the messaging platform as an abettor of rumour propagation and legal consequences will follow if adequate checks are not put in place.

Payments space

The appointment of Ezetap's Bose highlights California-based WhatsApp's ambitions in the payments space.

It has been testing a payments service in India and is awaiting a final nod from the Reserve Bank of India for a full launch of the service.

Credit Suisse estimates the value of transactions in India's digital payments space will grow five-fold to $1 trillion by 2023.

Bose will begin his new role at WhatsApp in early 2019 and will report to Idema.

WhatsApp has more than 200 million users in the country.

Bose's appointment comes just two months after parent Facebook named streaming service Hotstar's chief Ajit Mohan as its first India head.

The two appointments are crucial: India is the biggest market by users for both Facebook and WhatsApp and both firms are trying to get their social media strategies in place ahead of general election next year.

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