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Manesh Mahatme the head of Whatsapp payment India quits after 18 months

Despite dominating the messaging space in India, Mahatme’s resignation comes at a time when WhatsApp’s mobile payments business has failed to take off in a significant way. With over 500 million users, India is the largest market for the Meta-owned app.

Manesh Mahatme, the head of WhatsApp’s payment business in India, has quit the company after a nearly 18-month stint, according to a person familiar of the matter. Mahatme is returning to his former employer Amazon. Mahatme left WhatsApp Pay in September 2022, according to his LinkedIn profile. He joined the company in April 2021.

Prior to joining WhatsApp, Mahatme was a director and board member of Amazon Pay India for nearly seven years, where he led a team of senior product, engineering, business development, and sales leaders in developing the company’s payment experience both on and off Amazon.

“Manesh has played an important role in expanding the access to ‘payments on WhatsApp’ in India, and we wish him every success for his future endeavors. Payments on WhatsApp is a priority for Meta and we will continue to innovate and drive momentum as part of our broader efforts to bring the ‘next 500 million Indians’ onto the digital payments ecosystem” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.

Despite dominating the messaging space in India, Mahatme’s resignation comes at a time when WhatsApp’s mobile payments business has failed to take off in a significant way. With over 500 million users, India is the largest market for the Meta-owned app.

However, since its inception in the country, the UPI-based payment service has been hampered by restrictions on its user base.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which operates the country’s retail payment and settlement systems, had authorized WhatsApp to begin payment services in November 2020 with a cap of 20 million users. This was nearly two years after the service’s initial pilot. WhatsApp received approval from the NPCI in April 2022 to expand the service to 100 million users.

Over the past year, the messaging app has doubled down on its payment plans by introducing new features and marketing initiatives to increase service awareness and discoverability. This includes the addition of a rupee icon in the app’s chat composer and the ability for users to scan any UPI QR code via the camera icon on the app’s home screen.

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