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Business News/ Industry / Infotech/  ONDC partners with Google, Meta to reach small businesses
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ONDC partners with Google, Meta to reach small businesses

The move will help the service scale up its net transactions per month among consumers and large enterprises alike

MD and CEO Thampy Koshy says the onboarding of new users is being scaled up at a rapid pace on the ONDC protocol. (PTI)Premium
MD and CEO Thampy Koshy says the onboarding of new users is being scaled up at a rapid pace on the ONDC protocol. (PTI)

Ministry of commerce-backed e-commerce protocol Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) on Tuesday announced two separate partnerships with Google and Meta, to expand its outreach to small businesses through Google Maps and WhatsApp. This, in turn, will help the service scale up its net transactions per month among consumers and large enterprises alike.

With Google Maps, ONDC is onboarding the Kochi Metro as a mobility service on its platform. Users can make ticket bookings for the metro service directly in Google Maps, through the ONDC framework. For Meta, ONDC is being integrated into WhatsApp, where small businesses will be able to streamline their onboarding process on the framework. The move will also form a key part of Meta’s focus on monetizing its India market in 2024, said India head Sandhya Devanathan in an interview on Tuesday.

The e-commerce protocol is going through an adoption process across markets right now. Speaking with Mint, Thampy Koshy, managing director and chief executive of ONDC, said that the onboarding of new users is being scaled up at a rapid pace on the ONDC protocol. “In January, we announced public availability of ONDC in Bengaluru. At that time, we had just around 1,000-1,200 transactions per month. In just about 12 months’ time, the protocol is already seeing 5 million monthly transactions in Bengaluru," Koshy said.

The ONDC adoption on Google Maps, said Miriam Daniel, vice-president at Google Maps, will be scaled up in the coming months to become accessible for multiple public transport services.

Koshy further said that large corporations such as Hindustan Unilever are also expressing an interest in adoption of the ONDC framework. Such adoption is likely to receive a boost from new regulations such as the Telecom Bill, tabled in Parliament on Monday.

“My focus is on enabling digital commerce, and new progressive regulations will help in supporting India’s overall digital economy," Koshy said.

Availability of public mobility services on platforms has been increasing of late—Delhi Metro Rail Corp. on 5 October opened its ticketing service through WhatsApp for all lines.

On 13 August, Koshy told Mint that the platform already had over 150,000 merchants on the platform, including 90,000 from the mobility sector. Over 50,000 restaurants were also a part of it.

A key part of ONDC’s new partnerships would also be on skilling. For instance, Meta and ONDC’s partnership will include digital skilling of small businesses in order to help them migrate their businesses to digital platforms.

This can further scale the onboarding of small businesses on digital platforms such as WhatsApp, Meta’s Devanathan said, stating that such a model would prove to be more fruitful than Meta joining ONDC as a seller platform for businesses to access the protocol through.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shouvik Das
Shouvik Das is a science, space and technology reporter for Mint and TechCircle. In his previous stints, he worked at publications such as CNN-News18 and Outlook Business. He has also reported on consumer technology and the automobile sector.
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Published: 19 Dec 2023, 11:53 PM IST
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