Facebook is seeking regulatory nod for mobile money service, initially in Ireland. The license would be valid throughout the European Union. The social media behemoth is working on an international remittance service via mobile devices as part of its strategy to crack emerging markets.
The money transfer project, led by Sean Ryan, Facebook’s vice-president of platform partnerships, signals a strategic shift for the company, which makes most of its money from advertising. It also comes as other internet groups – in particular, China’s Tencent and Alibaba – race to turn their sites into mobile payment platforms, according to the Financial Times.
A foray into migrant remittances is part of Facebook’s push to increase its presence in emerging markets. “Facebook wants to become a utility in the developing world, and remittances are a gateway drug to financial inclusion,” said a person familiar with the company’s strategy. Facebook recently passed 100m users in India, which is its largest national market outside the United States.