Currently processing up to 18 billion messages per day across 100 countries on 750 mobile networks, WhatsApp has today become one of the digital industry's biggest cash cow. Having crossed 25 million active users in India, Neeraj Arora, head-business development, WhatsApp rules out the possibility of selling out to Facebook or Google.
“We started a partnership with Reliance almost a year back and it did phenomenally well. What we did with Reliance was a Rs 16 data plan per month. We gave them Rs 16 and your WhatsApp data becomes unlimited. So, people are very happy because they can send pictures, they have groups, whole day long they can stay connected to their family and friends on WhatsApp without having to think about how much I am spending," says Arora.
And cracking a deal with other carriers will be key because competition from Asian players like Line and WeChat is heating up at least in the Indian market where both players are advertising aggressively.
Neeraj says WhatsApp is steering clear of endorsements and will let their new feature enhancements on the voice message, photo and video platforms do the talking. We asked if there is a B2B play on the cards as well.
“I have seen so many shopkeepers, so many small business using WhatsApp, sales team being managed with groups on WhatsApp. So, we are giving them a tool as it is today. We are not building something special for them and for what it is today it is pretty useful for them. We take more feedback, we will see if it makes sense for us in the future when we have a bigger team versus bigger sales. We don't have a sales team for example today at WhatsApp, there is no sales team. How do you build a B2B business without a sales team?,” he adds.
Very clear that WhatsApp will not go down the data mining and advertising route, Neeraj says there are no chances of a sell out to Google or Facebook! Neeraj, however, didn't rule out possible acquisitions but says he is confident that the 50 strong WhatsApp team can manage immediate challenges of innovation and scale.