Facebook has selected London as the centre to launch WhatsApp’s upcoming push into mobile payments, providing some hope for post-Brexit London to maintain its position as a global tech hub.
Last week at Facebook’s F8 conference its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced a raft of upcoming changes to its family of brands, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
While announcing that Facebook’s marketplace and Instagram would both receive new features aimed at expanding their reach into online retail, it was revealed that WhatsApp would soon introduce product catalogues, alongside instant payments.
“Payments is one of the areas where we have an opportunity to make it a lot easier. I believe it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo,” Zuckerberg said at the conference.
According to the Financial Times, Facebook has chosen London as its hub to launch the new payments system, and will expand WhatsApp’s workforce in the city by around 100 people.
It said that it selected the UK, where WhatsApp is far more popular than in the US, due to its multicultural workforce.
Most of the newly hired software developers, who will build the payments function, will be based in London, with a few also working in Dublin.
WhatsApp’s chief operating officer Matthew Idema said: “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.
“WhatsApp is a truly global service and these teams will help us provide WhatsApp payments and other great features for our users everywhere.”