Tech giants Facebook and Google – which have invested in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms – are keen on leveraging the partnership to cash in on the fast growing business opportunity in India and expand the learnings to other countries as well.
During their investor calls, the U.S.-based companies highlighted the importance of the Indian market which is home to one of the world’s largest Internet consumer bases.
Referring to the investment in Jio Platforms , Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the partnership “will be to wire up and get thousands of kiranas , small businesses across India, onboarded onto WhatsApp to do commerce there” and that the company is excited about the opportunity in India.
“And once we prove that out with Jio in India, we’re planning on expanding it to more folks in India and to other countries as well. But there’s no doubt that India is a huge opportunity,” he emphasised.
Mr. Zuckerberg noted that India “should be one of the faster-growing business opportunities” for the company.
He said a lot of people use WhatsApp, especially in India. “There’s a huge opportunity to enable small businesses and individuals in India to buy and sell things through WhatsApp. We want to enable that. That starts with enabling payments,” he added.
In April, Facebook had announced an investment of USD 5.7 billion (₹43,574 crore) for 9.9% stake in Jio Platforms.
Since then, the Reliance Industries’ technology unit has raised money from a clutch of marquee investors. Earlier this month, Google said it will pump in ₹33,737 crore to buy a 7.7% stake in the venture, taking the latter’s fund raise since April to over ₹1.52 lakh crore.
In the investor call of Alphabet (Google’s parent firm), its chief Sundar Pichai said the company has announced a ‘Google for India’ Digitisation Fund to help Indian Internet users.
Through this effort, Google will invest approximately USD 10 billion over the next five to seven years to accelerate and participate in India’s burgeoning digital economy, he added.
“We’ll enable information in local languages and apply technology and AI to important areas such as health, education and agriculture. Jio Platforms is the first partnership agreement in the fund and will work with them to help millions of users in India become owners of smartphones,” Mr. Pichai said.