In a deal that was pretty much out in the open yesterday, Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani has today confirmed investment from Google, into his digital juggernaut Jio Platforms. Google will invest $4.5 billion, in return for a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms. In the process, the company will become the third largest shareholder in this mega digital behemoth that Reliance has created.
As expected, the investment from Google is a part of the $10Bn that it committed earlier this month for a new Google for India Digitization Fund. As a part of this agreement, Google and Jio Platforms have entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone with optimizations to the Android operating system and the Play Store
So far, Jio has raised a series of investments, including $5.7 billion from U.S. tech giant Facebook, parting away with 9.99% of its equity. Now, another behemoth from the US tech industry might be ready to get a taste of the world’s fastest growing internet market, as Google plans to follow its competitor and form an alliance with Reliance’s Jio Platforms.
Similar to how Intel and Qualcomm, two of the biggest rivals in chip industry game on board, it is a rare instance when Google and Facebook are partnering to invest in the same company and at almost similar scale. This goes on to show the massive opportunity that Jio has unlocked in the world’s fastest growing internet market, something which most tech giants have failed to crack.
With Google’s fresh investment, the company has raised to the north of $20 billion in the past 3 months, as a prelude to its conversion to a ‘technology led platform’, instead of a telecom operator. Jio Platforms Ltd. is looking to expand into India’s very own Alibaba, providing just about any service related to technology. This includes online retail, content streaming, digital payments, education and health care, cloud infrastructure, enterprise tech including others.
Some of these, such as JioTVPlus (an integrated streaming service with access too all OTT platforms), Jio Glass (a mixed reality headset) and JioMeet’s edtech functionalities.