Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and Facebook are looking to create a multipurpose app, similar to WeChat. Through the app, the companies are mulling creating a one-stop platform combining social media, digital payments, gaming as well as hotel bookings. RIL is looking to leverage WhatsApp's user base for the app. Users would also be able to purchase groceries through Reliance Retail, use JioMoney and shop at Ajio.
The companies would bring in the technical expertise, funding as well as domain know-how for the app, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times. Such an app would provide B2C engagement for RIL's consumer business as well as allow in-depth understanding of users' spending habits.
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According to the daily, commercial due diligence for the app is underway. Morgan Stanley has also been roped in as the investment banker.
However, it is still unclear how the final structure of the partnership would be like. Either a new company would be created with investments from both Facebook and RIL or the social media giant might invest in Reliance Jio or Reliance Retail.
The companies have hired top consultants and lawyers from the US to explore all the aspects, the daily reported. The challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic might slow down or delay the project for now.
Separately, Facebook is reportedly eyeing a multi-billion dollar stake in Reliance Jio. Facebook was close to signing a preliminary deal to buy 10 per cent stake in Jio but the talks have been halted due to the travel ban imposed across the world. Through the deal, Facebook would be able to expand its digital reach in India.
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