WhatsApp Business launches on iPhones

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SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook’s messaging app WhatsApp on Thursday launched its WhatsApp Business app for Apple Inc’s iOS operating system, allowing small businesses to communicate with customers through the platform.

WhatsApp Business will be available for free download from the App Store in Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, India, Mexico, the UK and the U.S. starting Thursday and will be rolled out around the world in the coming weeks, WhatsApp said here

The service has been available on Android since last year and has over 5 million users.

Some businesses already use WhatsApp, with 1.3 billion users, to answer inquires from customers.

Business accounts will allow them to set up automatic greetings, see statistics about their messaging and set up a profile page with hours of operation and other information, WhatsApp had said last year.

The accounts are aimed at businesses that receive a high volume of WhatsApp messages and need help keeping up, WhatsApp Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema had said.

Started in 2009, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for an eye-popping $22 billion in 2014. While WhatsApp had little revenue at the time of the deal, the purchase price was slightly more than the market value of Sony Corp.

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