The WhatsApp messaging application said Thursday that for the first time, it will begin to allow company accounts. The highly popular app company said that in response to requests, businesses with high volumes of messages on the app will be allowed to create a business account.
The new WhatsApp Business App allows companies to have auto greetings, see message statistics and create a profile page with hours of operation information.
Matt Idema, WhatsApp COO, says, “What we saw was a need for companies to have more efficient tools,” he explained.
Idema, who was a Facebook executive before joining WhatsApp last year, explained that the company intends to charge businesses in the future, but added that it was too early to talk about when it would happen or what future business services would be like.
Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion USD. The service used to charge an annual fee of one Euro, but discarded it in 2016, which left the service without a source of revenue.
In a crowded market, WhatsApp competes with Facebook Messenger, WeChat of Tencent and other messaging services.
The app was made available Thursday for the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and the United States.
He added that they plan to extend the business app to other countries in the coming weeks and include it in future Apple iPhones.