Meta opens WhatsApp to businesses around the world with new cloud API service

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Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Senior journalist

Aimee Chanthadavong Senior Journalist

Since earning a degree in journalism, Aimee has had her share of covering a variety of topics, including business, retail, manufacturing, and travel. She continues to expand her repertoire as a tech journalist with ZDNet.

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Image: WhatsApp

Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has introduced a cloud-based API service to give businesses a way to quickly adopt WhatsApp and use it as another way to communicate with customers.

“The best business experiences meet people where they already are. Every week, more than a billion users connect to the business account through our messaging services,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s Conversations conference.

“They’re looking for help finding products and services and buying everything from big tickets to everyday goods. And today… we’re opening WhatsApp to any business of any size around the world with WhatsApp Cloud API.”

Zuckerberg explained that via the cloud-based platform, any company or developer can build a custom dashboard on top of the WhatsApp software to “customize their experience and speed up their response time to customers.”

The dashboard also gives businesses a glimpse into their WhatsApp accounts, current account limits, recent product news, and access to four key account tools: insights, messaging, templates, phone numbers, and product catalog.

The use of WhatsApp Cloud API is free for the first 1,000 messages per month, which can be initiated by both the company and the user. After that, companies can choose to scale and roll out more broadly through paid tiers, with costs based on the number of conversations with customers per day. Costs range from a cent to nearly 20 cents, depending on whether the calls are business or user-initiated and in which market.

The company has been building its business offerings since 2017, when it began testing a dedicated business chat app. About half a year later, WhatsApp Business for Android was launched.

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