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WhatsApp Pay in India

WhatsApp Pay has gained permission from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to expand in stages over the next years. The first stage allows it to grow to 10 million users. WhatsApp Pay started in 2018 with Unified Payments Interface (UPI), an Indian platform that enables mobile bank-to-bank transactions. But its growth was curtailed by the Indian rules on data localization. WhatsApp Pay now appears to have found a solution to India’s data localization rules, which require payments firms to store Indian consumers’ data locally. Once WhatsApp Pay completes the first phase successfully and can prove that its operations comply with the data localization requirements, it may be permitted to roll out fully in India.

The issue of data localization rules are seen by many countries as a non-tariff barrier to the digital economy and there is a debate at the World Trade Organization. China and India, for differing reasons, support data localization rules. So does South Africa which is likely to cause a clash with other African countries which do not support these restrictions when the African Free Trade Area negotiations start in July.

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Alastair Tempest

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