WhatsApp India posted a net profit or Profit after Tax (PAT) of Rs 57.18 lakh for the financial year ending March 31, 2019, according to filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
This is the instant messaging giant’s first profitable year in India. It reported a turnover of Rs 6.84 crore. The Facebook-owned messaging service has 400 million users in the country. WhatsApp attributes IT-enabled business process and outsourcing services as its sources of revenue. The company’s expenses for FY19 stood at Rs 6 crore, which included employee benefits of Rs 3.43 crore. In comparison, WhatsApp India had posted a loss of Rs 5 lakh and nil revenue in FY18.
Globally, over 5 Mn businesses are using WhatsApp Business app every month, according to the company, and at the moment, there is no subscription fee to get a WhatsApp Business account.
This has attracted several small and medium businesses (SMBs) to the WhatsApp Business platform. The company says it has touched categories such as ice creams and handicrafts with this SMB and SME-focussed approach.
WhatsApp Business enables features such as a business profile tag with fields such as name, address, contact details and description, automated messages and greetings; message labels similar to Gmail; and quick replies or templated messages saved by the business owner beforehand.
Further adding to the woes of WhatsApp was the Pegasus spyware controversy. It was alleged that the instant messaging service platform was used by an Isreali spyware Pegasus to spy on Indian users, who were mostly journalists, academics, lawyers and activists. The government then started questioning WhatsApp’s capabilities to handle something as sensitive as digital payments.
Since then the government claimed that WhatsApp hadn’t shared any information regarding the breach, while the latter claimed it made two submissions about the breach in May and September. However, IT ministry officials said the report was vague and did not explain the breach clearly.
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