WhatsApp targets small businesses with new UK app launch

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WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new business-focused version of its service in the UK for the first time. 

Designed primarily for small start-ups and SMEs, WhatsApp Business is available now on the Android platform. The free to download is launching in the UK alongside the US, Indonesia, Italy and Mexico, with a worldwide release expected soon.

The company says WhatsApp Business will have multiple benefits. Users will, for example, know that they’re chatting with a business profile and not a personal one. On the other hand, brands will have an easier time communicating with customers, but also with employees.

Business profiles on WhatsApp Business will offer a description, including email, store address and website. Messaging tools will provide quick replies to frequently asked questions. Statistics will offer businesses a chance to quickly review simple metrics.

People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about — from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil. But WhatsApp was built for people and we want to improve the business experience. For example, by making it easier for businesses to respond to customers, separating customer and personal messages, and creating an official presence.

“People can continue using WhatsApp as usual — there's no need to download anything new,” the company said via a blog post. “And people will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam.”

However concerns have already been raised that WhatsApp is actually looking to make a lot of money from the new app by charging larger enterprises for more advanced features.

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