In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion. While WhatsApp is a free app with over a billion daily users, it is apparently the time for Facebook to reap returns on its investment. The WhatsApp team had been working on the business version of the app for a while, and a soft launch has taken place on 9 October 2017.
The business version is aimed at small and medium business owners with the purpose to enable them to communicate with their customers in a better way. The business version is currently available as an APK file for download officially, however, to use the business version, the businesses must be approved via a survey. Businesses that were chosen through the survey would be invited to join WhatsApp Business version.
The functioning of WhatsApp Business is like the normal WhatsApp. However, businesses now will have the capability to maintain their personal and business account separately. Currently, people run their business using the personal WhatsApp account, and that is a cause for various inconveniences. With the WhatsApp Business product, the business will receive an official account, and all existing business contacts can be transferred to the official account. The WhatsApp Business and normal WhatsApp phone numbers should be different.
Another interesting feature is the ability to register for WhatsApp Business with an existing landline number, which is very useful since many small business enterprises use a landline for client communication. The WhatsApp Business account will display an official business profile that will include a website address, business address, location, business description, business category, and email address.
The WhatsApp Business account will have the Away messages feature, akin to Skype of Gtalk to share whether the business is available or not. The user can install two versions of WhatsApp on a single phone or use two phones for business and personal WhatsApp access separately. The choice depends on the users.
Presently, the WhatsApp Business would be available to large enterprises for a fee, and small and mid-size businesses can run a free account. However, the terms might change in future.