Facebook has its eyes on the internet boom in the Indian market and is set to take up a stake in India’s largest mobile operator with an investment of billions of dollars. It is also partnering with the Indian telecom company to take advantage of the boom.
The largest social media company is set to take up a stake of 9.99 per cent in Jio Platforms through an investment of $5.7 billion. Jio Platforms is the digital technology arm of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s huge conglomerate Reliance Industries.
There are a number of services that Jio Platforms provides including the mobile network Reliance Jio, the Indian mobile network that has become the biggest in the market within just four years of being launched with a total of 388 million users. It upended the Indian internet market with low cost internet data and forced the industry to reorganize through mergers. Jio Platforms also offer apps that can be used by users to stream movies, shop online and read news.
A commercial partnership with WhatsApp is also included in the deal. According to analysts, this tie up can allow Facebook to monetize the messaging app through its 340 million strong user base in India.
This deal comes at a crucial time in the Indian tech industry. While the growth in the market is huge, global companies are finding it difficult to make money because of change in regulations which makes the forging of key alliances absolutely crucial for companies like Facebook to increase their chances of making money from their Indian ventures. Additionally, when the global economy is in deep trouble, this huge investment is also welcome news.
India has the largest Facebook and WhatsApp communities in the world, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has noted.
Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post that there are also more than 60 million small businesses in India and many of them “need digital tools they can rely on to find and communicate with customers and grow their businesses.”
“This is something we can help with — and that’s why we’re partnering with Jio to help people and businesses in India create new opportunities,” he said.
A wide swath of opportunities for the future was laid down by Ambani in a video message. Almost 30 million people small Indian shops will be employed In the “very near future” because of the JioMart, the company’s e-commerce platform, and WhatsApp, “to digitally transact with every customer in their neighborhood,” Ambani said.
“This means all of you can order and get faster delivery of day-to-day items from nearby local shops,” he said.
Ambani called it a “winning recipe” that will eventually “be extended to serve other key stakeholders of Indian society,” such as agricultural workers, small and medium enterprises, students and teachers, and healthcare providers.
With the recognition of being the second-largest smartphone market in eth world and with millions of new phone internet users eager to purchase stuff online, other online services such as music streaming and videos streaming are also gaining importance.
(Adapted from CNN.com)