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WhatsApp now has about 400 million users in India

WhatsApp is also planning to launch its payment service, WhatsApp Pay, in India later this year.

WhatsApp plans to roll out payments feature in India this year
WhatsApp plans to roll out payments feature in India this year (Bloomberg)

WhatsApp now has 400 million active users in India, revealed Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant at an event in New Delhi on Thursday. The Facebook-owned messaging app had reported 200 million active users in India in February 2017.

"...400 million Indians are using WhatsApp, out of the base of 1.5 billion" said Kant at the event. "And I can assure you in the next three years, it will be a billion plus from India."

WhatsApp hasn't officially updated the official figures since February 2017 but our sources confirm the latest 400 million active userbase.

It is worth noting that India has about 485 million smartphone users in India, according to an estimate by techARC. The smartphone userbase is expected to hit 800 million by 2022, according to a Cisco study. India had about 404.1 million smartphone users in 2017, the report added.

WhatsApp is making efforts to launch its long-delayed digital payment service, dubbed as WhatsApp Pay. The company global head Will Cathcart on Thursday revealed WhatsApp Pay will be available to all users by the end of this year.

The service was stalled after the company failed to meet the local digital payments framework guidelines. WhatsApp is said to be working to comply with the regulations including data localisation norms that makes it mandatory for all payments-related data to be stored locally.

"We built payments based on the UPI standard, partnered with banks here in India... We believe that if we did this right, it will accelerate financial inclusion and bring more people in India's fast-growing digital economy. We can't wait to provide the service to more of our users all across India later this year," Cathcart said.

(with inputs from PTI)

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