Ambani, Asia’s Richest Man’s Tech Company Gets Investment Of $1.5 Billion From Saudi Arabia

With investments from the likes of Facebook and top Silicon Valley investors Silver Lake and TPG, more than $15 billion in investments for his technology company has been amassed by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani within just less than two months,

His project has now caught the interest of Saudi Arabia – a powerful investor with deep pockets.

An investment of $1.5 billion for a 2.3 per cent stake in Jio Platforms, the digital technology business of the sprawling conglomerate Reliance Industries of the Amabani’s, will be made by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Since April, this is the tenth major investment that has been made in Jio Platforms. The first company to make a significant investment was Facebook with an investment of $5.7 billion, one of the biggest ever deals for the social media giant. While the deal enabled the social media firm to gain a foothold in the fast-growing internet market of India, it established Ambani’ as a kingmaker in the region.

India is a major market for Facebook with hundreds of millions of users and as such has invested heavily in the market for growth. The company has however ran into a series of regulatory hurdles

Reliance Industries said on Friday that it is now debt free because of the fundraising blitz and a recent $7 billion share sale. The net debt of the company was 1.61 trillion rupees ($21 billion) as of the end of March, the company said.

The total number of subscribers for Jio, a telecom network of India that was launched in late 2016, is more than 388 million. Jio also offers millions of mobile users everything from online grocery shopping and digital payments to video streaming through its ecosystem of apps.

Building the next global technology company that would be able to rival the likes of Google, Tencent, Amazon and Alibaba is the ultimate aim of Ambani, according to analysts. And he will be aided in achieving this ambition by he latest investment and support from the Saudi wealth fund which has invested in several Silicon Valley firms such as Uber and Tesla.

“I welcome PIF as a valued partner in Jio Platforms and look forward to their sustained support and guidance as we take ambitious steps to accelerate India’s digital transformation,” Ambani said in a statement.

Since it was launched, Jio has been able to become a major player in the Indian internet boom which has more than 600 million internet users while a similar number still lies outside of this market and ready to jump onto the internet bandwagon for the first time in their lives.

“We believe that the potential of the Indian digital economy is very exciting and that Jio Platforms provides us with an excellent opportunity to gain access to that growth,” PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said in a statement.

(Adapted from CNN.com)

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