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What does India’s competition watchdog think of WhatsApp, JioMart e-commerce partnership?

WhatsApp users in India will be able to order groceries directly from the app thanks to Meta’s partnership with Reliance’s JioMart

Source: Meta press release

What's the news: WhatsApp users in India will now be able to order groceries directly from the messaging app thanks to Meta's partnership with Reliance's JioMart, the two companies announced on August 29. Calling the feature WhatsApp's first "end-to-end shopping experience," Reliance explained that users will be able to "browse through JioMart’s entire grocery catalog, add items to cart, and make the payment to complete the purchase – all without leaving the WhatsApp chat." Why does this matter: This feature officially marks WhatsApp's entry into e-commerce, one of the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy. Compared to incumbents and other up-and-coming e-commerce platforms, WhatsApp has the unique advantage of having hundreds of millions of users that it can tap into. E-commerce will also provide the free messaging app with a new revenue stream and take it one step closer to its ambition of becoming a super app like China's WeChat. Will WhatsApp give an unfair advantage to JioMart: When you account for WhatsApp's nearly 500 million users in India, the immediate antitrust concern that arises from this partnership is whether JioMart will have an unfair advantage over other e-commerce players and even offline retailers. Those under immediate threat are other grocery delivery apps like BigBasket, Swiggy Instamart, Dunzo, and Zepto. But this concern was already taken into consideration by the Competition Commission of India in 2020 before it approved Meta's investment. The two companies told CCI that WhatsApp is free to offer its services to any other market participant and that…

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