Facebook partners with Indian company to provide loans to small businesses

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Facebook is partnering with an Indian online lending company to provide loans to small domestic businesses, the country chief said on Friday, to encourage more businesses to advertise on its platform.

The social media giant is partnering with Indifi to raise loans from Rs. 5,00,000 to Rs. 50,000,000 at annual interest rates of up to 20 percent, Ajit Mohan, executive director of Facebook India, said at a virtual press conference.

Facebook said it would pay off to bolster the small business economy in India as these companies will use their apps like Instagram and WhatsApp to fuel their growth.

“We don’t want to make any money on this program, we don’t have any revenue sharing … but we hope this creates growth in the industry that we will ultimately benefit from,” Mohan said, adding that Facebook has no cash post to the program.

The loans are available to small businesses that have been advertising on Facebook or its group apps for at least 180 days. And the program could help more such companies advertise on India’s very popular social network and apps.

With more than 410 million users, India is an important growth market for Facebook, and its WhatsApp Messenger is one of its largest markets in the South Asian country with over 530 million users. Instagram has over 210 million users in India and also benefited from a ban on the Chinese short video platform TikTok last year.

Last year, Facebook invested $ 5.7 billion (approximately Rs 42,402 billion) in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s digital unit, Jio Platforms, which will enable WhatsApp to provide payment services to millions of corner shops.

Separately, WhatsApp plans to deepen its partnership with banks to offer financial services like pensions and insurance.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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