- Jio marks the first investment from Google's India Digitisation Fund of $10 billion
- Google picks 7.73% stake in Jio Platforms for $4.5 billion
- Signs commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level optimised android OS smartphones
At the company's annual general meeting, Reliance industries chairman Mukesh Ambani announced a 7.7 per cent stake sale for Rs 33,737 crore to Google. This marks the first investment by Google from the $10 billion or Rs 75,000 crore commitment through India Digitisation Fund announced just a couple of days ago. According to the announcement by both the companies, Jio Platforms and Google have entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop entry level affordable 4G or 5G smartphones with optimised Android operating system and the Play Store. The company further said Google and Jio will be partnering to build an Android-based smartphone operating system. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said, "We welcome Google onboard and are excited about our partnership for what it can deliver to Indians, from universalising Internet usage to deepening the new digital economy and providing a prime mover to India's economic growth. Together, we hope to play a strong facilitative role in the transformative journey of building a new, Digital India."
Google said it intends to work with Jio and other leaders in the local ecosystem drawing each other's strength to ensure that smartphones, together with the apps and services in the Play Store, reach many more Indians across the country. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said, "Getting technology into the hands of more people is a big part of Google's mission to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through this partnership with Jio Platforms we see the chance to have an even greater impact than either company could have alone."
With the current investment from Google, Jio Platforms has raised nearly 1.5 lakh crore in the last three months including 9.9 per cent stake sale to Facebook for Rs 43,574 crore announced in April this year. This is perhaps the first time American tech rivals Facebook and Google will be seen coming to the table as investors in a single company, with data being the premium. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the company's Q1 earnings call hailed the move and said that it would serve small businesses and enable commerce there over the long-term in a country that has the largest Facebook and WhatsApp communities in the world. "By bringing together JioMart, which is Jio's small business initiative to connect millions of shops across India with WhatsApp, we think that we're going to able to create a much better shopping and commerce experience," he said. With approximately $5.7 billion in investment, Faceook's early focus area as a part of this investment is to give micro, small and medium businesses access to digital tools that empower them and help them grow and expand their business while also connecting with their customers.