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Perhaps the best things in life are free, but not WhatsApp, not anymore. The popular messaging platform has announced changes in its services, including paid services for businesses.

"Over the last few years, we've seen a real shift towards messaging apps for personal communication and increasingly people are relying on WhatsApp to get business done as well," the WhatsApp announcement began. Indeed, messaging apps like WhatsApp have allowed commercial entities to get away from the troubles of conventional communication systems. With integrated communication platforms like these apps, companies no longer have to separately manage phone calls, SMS, and e-mails.

Furthermore, the global coronavirus pandemic has further stressed the need for efficient communication systems, with simple and convenient alternatives taking the lead. In its announcement, the messaging app said that more than 175 million messages a WhatsApp Business account every day, with accessibility being the key in driving customer action and purchase.

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Investing More In The WhatsApp Business

The company recounted that for the last two years, WhatsApp provided support for businesses and their chat platform requirements with the Business app and the Business application programming interface (API). Citing customer feedback, the messenger platform now owned by social media giant Facebook, Inc has announced investments to strengthen its business-oriented services.

The first is its plan to expand the shopping capabilities within the app. In line with the larger initiative, Facebook Shop, WhatsApp is looking to allow customers to check out and purchase directly from their chats. The company believes that it will help small businesses most impacted by the pandemic.

Next, it will be adapting Facebook Hosting Services. The messaging app is looking to expand its partnerships with business solution providers it has worked with in the past to host and manage their customer communications. It also aims to offer these hosting options in line with its parent company's plans. With Facebook/ WhatsApp hosted businesses, small and medium businesses can enable setup, inventory, and customer care capabilities on the go.

Lastly, and most importantly, is that WhatsApp is now looking to offer pay-to-message options for businesses. This revision in the app's money-making structure, according to its press release, will allow it to build a business of its own as it continues to provide free and encrypted text, voice, and video calling for more than two billion people worldwide.

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WhatsApp, Facebook's $19 Billion Property

The messaging app was originally founded by former Yahoo! Employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum. In an interview with Forbes, Acton recalled how they tried applying at Facebook and were rejected. WhatsApp was first incorporated in California by February 2009.

Five years into the app market and just one year after its venture capital financing round, which placed it at a $1.5 billion value. Soon after, Facebook announced that it was acquiring the messaging app at a staggering $19 billion agreement - the social media giant's largest acquisition and the largest venture-backed acquisition at the time. Sequoia Capital, which invested in the company back in 2011, saw a return of almost 50 times its investment upon the finalization of the agreement.

However, tech experts also cited the acquisition as the reason for the subsequent loss of WhatsApp users - almost 8 million users moving to other apps in the following weeks after the announcement.

Check out more news and information about WhatsApp in Science Times.