File picture: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
CAPE TOWN - Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp aims to make more money with their new business feature.

New reports suggest that Facebook has been in serious discussions about monetising the chat application. WhatsApp was bought by Facebook four years ago for a staggering $22 billion (R295bn).

The chat application will soon launch its "WhatsApp Business API".

Facebook reported in late July that earnings had dwindled slightly and this may be the next step to pick up profits.

In the last few months, WhatsApp has released a number of new features that allow its customers to connect effortlessly with the company. This includes a shortcut button to start a conversation right away, quick troubleshooting mechanisms and now WhatsApp allows business to send you information.

Recently Absa and WhatsApp joined forces to create a new and innovative banking application.

Facebook has now said that it will showcase ads of companies that link to WhatsApp. This means that companies can buy ads that lead their customers specifically to a new already created chat group on WhatsApp where the company can start engaging from there.

Companies can interact with their clients or free for the first 24 hours, thereafter Facebook will charge the business for the feature.

It should be noted that companies will only be able to send you messages if you contact them first.

This new message function on WhatsApp is almost identical to one on Facebook where companies can list their business's page and send messages to their clients.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook hopes that the Business API feature may be a cheaper alternative to customer service call centres. The service will be a "better way" to connect with customers in asynchronous chat rather than phoning in.