NEW DELHI: India’s antitrust watchdog has rejected a case against Facebook-owned WhatsApp. In its order, CCI said that the instant messaging app has not abused its dominant position to push its UPI payment service in the country.
Actually, the complaint is around Whatsapp’s launch of a UPI-backed digital payments service Whatsapp Pay. Back in March, the Facebook-owned platform alleged for using its dominant position in social networking space to push a bundled payment service to the users. Clearly, India is a huge market for WhatsApp and it has a massive userbase over here, estimated around 400 million+.
Interestingly, Whatsapp has been testing its UPI payment service in India for close to two years now. But since 2018, the popular messaging platform has limited the service to just 1 million users in India. This is because the company hasn’t received regulatory clearances yet.
hatsApp, RBI & NPCI (Owned UPI) still negotiating on India’s new data localisation laws. The Supreme Court is separately hearing cases challenging the expansion of its payment service.
CCI Latest Order On Antitrust Complaint Against WhatsApp
Meantime. now in a 41-page official order is public. In this order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) confirmed that it did not find any contravention of antitrust laws. The company’s actual conduct is yet to manifest in the market as it has not fully launched the service yet, CCI further statement.
The order also quoted, “As stated by WhatsApp, the number of users being served under the beta version is limited to less than 1% of its users in India.”
According to CCI, the company also throws some light in its defence. Its users do not mandatorily register for or use WhatsApp’s payment. Messaging services do not get affected by any means, WhatsApp told. So the aggregation is completely false.
There is no doubt, this order gives WhatsApp a big relief. And now the company seems to be close to launching its UPI based payment service in full-fledge.
Also, In a letter dated June 5, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) management arm NPCI, told RBI that it “confirms” WhatsApp has now satisfied data-localisation norms for it’s most awaited payments service, WhatsApp Pay.