Bengaluru, NFAPost: In a major relief to Facebook-owned instant messaging app game plan for India, the antitrust watchdog the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed a case against WhatApp.
In its latest order, the CCI stated that the company has not abused its dominant position to expand in the country’s digital payments market, according to an official order.
A case in March alleged that WhatsApp was bundling its digital payment facility – WhatsApp Pay – within its messaging app for which it already has a large user base. The case alleged WhatsApp was abusing its position by forcing its payments feature on to its existing users.
The verdict of the CCI comes at a time when WhatsApp launched its payment service in Brazil instead of the earlier decision of starting it in India. The company finds India as its major market for expanding its business prospects.
In a 41-page official order made public late on Tuesday, CCI said it did not find any contravention of antitrust laws, adding the company’s “actual conduct is yet to manifest in the market” as it has not fully launched the service yet.”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,” said the order.
Even though the order will come as a relief for WhatsApp, the company will have to face competition from other leading players like Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay. But WhatsApp reach in the country is well ahead of other competitiors that it has around 400 million downloads in the country.
According to the Redseer Research report titled Indian Mobile Payments: 5x growth predicts that digital payment volumes would grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 37% to Rs 4,067 lakh crore by financial year 2022.
The payment industry would have registered a 31% combined annual growth rate (CAGR). The report states that the total value of digital payment across various channels stood at Rs 2,152 trillion in 2020.
Also, Facebook is going ahead with its multi-pronged strategy for India to take on other social media apps and tech companies. Facebook already announced its game plan to align with Reliance for consolidation of position in the India market.
The Supreme Court is separately hearing cases challenging the expansion of its payment service. In its defence, the company had told the CCI that its users are not required to register for or use WhatsApp’s payment feature in order to use the messaging service, the order said.