Facebook has relished unmatched reach in India for over a decade. But as China’s speedily growing ByteDance materializes as an arduous competitor in what has become the world’s second-biggest internet marketplace, the American social media hulk has found the stallion it wants to bet on in the new decade. The world’s biggest social media company broadcasted today it has invested $5.7 billion for a 9.99% stake in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms, a three-and-a-half-year-old subsidiary of the country’s most valued firm, Reliance Industries, and the largest telecom operator in the nation with more than 370 million subscribers. The deal, which valued Jio at a pre-money valuation of $65.95 billion, makes Facebook the principal minority shareholder in the Indian telecom network.
The social hulk said the investment marks its “commitment to India”, where it will concentrate on collaborating with Jio to craft “new ways for individuals and businesses to function more efficiently in the budding digital economy.” This is the major investment for a minority stake by a technology firm anywhere across the globe and the biggest foreign direct investment in the technology space in India.
One potential collaboration could be, said David Fischer, Chief Revenue Officer at Facebook, and Ajit Mohan, VP and Managing Director of Facebook India, fetching together JioMart, an e-commerce business that is a joint undertaking between Jio and Reliance Retail (country’s biggest retail chain), with WhatsApp, which counts India as its largest market with more than 400 million users. It is also the most prevalent smartphone app in India. (Facebook’s marquee service reaches around 350 million users in India, it says on its website for brands.) “We can permit folks to connect with businesses, shop and eventually buy products in a seamless mobile experience,” they said.
“We are making a financial investment, and more than that, we are committing to team up on some major projects that will uncover commerce opportunities for individuals across India,” said Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, and chief executive of Facebook, in a post. In recent quarters, Facebook has begun to take interest in Indian startups. Last year, the firm made an investment in social commerce Meesho; and earlier this year, it inscribed a check to ed-tech startup Unacademy. Facebook has capitalized around $15 million each in these two startups.
Checkout here what Mukesh Ambani and Mark Zuckerberg have to say about Facebook-Jio partnership
For Facebook, there might be a supplementary perk in this agreement: Mukesh Ambani. India’s richest man is a close confederate of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and his firm has steadily supported policy offers from the presiding government. Just so it ensues, Facebook has received more analysis than ever in India in recent years under Modi’s government. In a video message, Ambani said, “At the core of our partnership is the commitment that Mark Zuckerberg and I share for the all-round digital renovation of India and for aiding all Indians. Together, our two corporations will fast-track India’s digital economy to empower you, enable you, and to enrich you.” “The synergy between Jio and Facebook will help realize Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ Mission with its two determined objectives — ‘Ease of Living’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ – for every single grouping of Indian individuals without exception. In the post-Corona era, I am self-assured of India’s economic retrieval and renaissance in the shortest period of time. The partnership will assuredly make an imperative contribution to this transformation,” he said in a statement. Ambani added that JioMart and WhatsApp will allow 30 million neighborhood stores (kirana) to transact digitally in the near future. WhatsApp has been operational with the Indian government for more than two years to magnify its payments service in India.