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Facebook picks London to drive WhatsApp mobile payments globally.

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) Facebook intends to drive a global expansion of mobile payments on WhatsApp from London, accelerating its efforts to make money off the popular messaging service.

The world’s largest social media company picked the UK as the centre of that push because it routinely attracts talent from markets where WhatsApp is popular, such as India, a spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook said.

WhatsApp dispatched engineers to Britain late last year as part of a drive to recruit about 100 people in London and Dublin to support its payments initiative, the spokesman said, confirming an earlier Financial Times report.

Facebook has been seeking ways to make money from the messaging service and has been testing payments via the app since last year in India, WhatsApp’s largest market with more than 200 million users.

A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration, May 2, 2013. Facebook Inc’s mobile advertising revenue growth gained momentum in the first three months of the year as the social network sold more ads to users on smartphones and tablets, partially offsetting higher spending which weighed on profits. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA – Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS) – RTXZ81J

Facebook’s new London staff will develop a payments function for WhatsApp as well as products that focus on safety and combating spam.

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