The social media giant Facebook has made a huge bet on India’s giant internet Jio. Facebook has announced it has invested a massive $5.7 billion in Jio – taking around a 10% stake of the platform. The investment makes Facebook the largest minority shareholder of Jio.
“Today we are announcing a $5.7 billion, or INR 43,574 crore, investment in Jio Platforms Limited, part of Reliance Industries Limited, making Facebook its largest minority shareholder,” said David Fischer, Chief Revenue Officer, and Ajit Mohan, VP and Managing Director, India, officially announcing the matter.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited or Jio is an Indian telecommunications company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd. and Facebook. It operates a national LTE network with coverage across all 22 telecom circles.
“This investment underscores our commitment to India and our excitement for the dramatic transformation that Jio has spurred in the country. In less than four years, Jio has brought more than 388 million people online, fueling the creation of innovative new enterprises and connecting people in new ways. We are committed to connecting more people in India together with Jio,” the statement said.
Previously, Reliance announced its plans to restructure its telecom and digital business by developing the ownership of its apps/AI/cloud initiatives into an independent subsidiary, Jio Platforms.
India is one of the countries that is embracing e-commerce and digital solutions with the growing use of smartphones. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Managing Director, and the largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Ltd. has been investing billions of dollars to mold its retail and telecom business in India.
According to Fischer and Mohan, the new collaboration between Reliance and Facebook will accelerate India’s digital transformation. “Our goal is to enable new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, but especially for the more than 60 million small businesses across India. They account for the majority of jobs in the country and form the heart and soul of rural and urban communities alike. In the face of the coronavirus, it is important that we both combat this global pandemic now, and lay the groundwork to help people and businesses in the years to come.”
The statement also unveiled the future plans of the collaboration.
“One focus of our collaboration with Jio will be creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy. For instance, by bringing together JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.”
Fischer and Mohan highlighted that Facebook, together with Jio, will be focused on opening new doors and will fuel India’s economic growth and the prosperity of its people.
The new investment brings Jio’s value at around $65.95 billion.