Facebook is planning to use London as a key hub for the development of a new WhatsApp mobile payment feature.
The story was first reported by The Financial Times and confirmed to FORBES by a Facebook spokesperson.
Roughly one hundred people will be hired to lead a new WhatsApp payments push, meaning WhatsApp’s relatively small team of 400 people will expand by around 25%, according to the FT.
The majority of the new WhatsApp software engineers will be hired in London, while a number of operations staff will be hired at Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
“We’re eager to work with some of the best technical and operational experts in both London and Dublin to take WhatsApp into its second decade,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp, in a statement that was shared with FORBES. “WhatsApp is a truly global service and these teams will help us provide WhatsApp payments and other great features for our users everywhere.”
Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to think about how to monetise the platform ever since. Introducing a payments feature provides Facebook with a potential revenue stream.
WhatsApp boasts 1.5 billion users globally but the app isn’t as popular in the US as it is in countries like the UK and India.
Speaking at Facebook’s annual F8 conference last week, Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp mobile payments would launch in several countries in 2019 following an initial trial in India.