Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

If you live in the US, chances are you’ve at least heard of WhatsApp, the messaging app that Meta acquired in 2014.

But if you live in other parts of the world, like India, the service is more than just an app for communicating with friends and family.

“WhatsApp in India is a way of life,” said Rajeev Khera, founder of food tech business Chakki Peesing, which operates outside of New Delhi.

Khera is one of the millions of Indians who run businesses mainly through WhatsApp. And it’s not just businesses: roughly 400 million people in India use WhatsApp to keep in touch with relatives overseas, send money, access critical medical information, and more.

WhatsApp’s simple design helped make it a hit internationally, especially in countries…

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