On Monday, Google announced it would invest $ 10 billion in India over the next few years. Two days later, the company revealed a key detail: Nearly half of the money will go to a leading telecommunications operator owned by Asia’s richest man.
Internet giant to invest $ 4.5 billion in Jio Platforms as part of plan to “increase access to the hundreds of millions of people in India who do not own smartphones,” said Sundar Pichai , CEO of Google. tweeted Wednesday. Mukesh Ambani, the owner of Jio, has a net worth of over $ 70 billion.
Google first unveiled the $ 10 billion Digitization Fund for India on Monday at an online event featuring key Google executives, including Pichai, and members of the Indian government. The company said that the money would be used to provide Indians with cheap internet access, digitize the country’s small and medium-sized businesses, and use artificial intelligence in areas such as health, agriculture and education.
Over the past few years, India has emerged as a key market for large US tech companies looking to grow beyond the US and Europe. More than 500 million Indians – just under half of the country’s population – are now online, and almost all of them use inexpensive smartphones that run Google’s Android operating system.
Most of this growth has been fueled by Jio. Ambani, an industrialist, founded Jio and pumped with $ 35 billion to cover the country with a high-speed 4G network, which brought the price of data down to pennies. The move launched a telecommunications price war in India and made Jio the country’s largest telecommunications operator with more than 388 million subscribers – more than the entire population of the United States. Jio plans to expand by deploying internet-based services such as e-commerce, streaming TV, music services, online games and video conferencing applications.
As part of the Jio investment, Google and Jio will also work together to create an affordable entry-level Android smartphone for the more than 500 million Indians who still do not have internet access, the two companies said.
Over the past three months, investors around the world have pour into $ 20 billion in Jio platforms. In April, Facebook ad that he would buy nearly 10% of the company for $ 5.7 billion. Facebook’s investment was followed by US private equity firms General Atlantic, Vista Equity Partners and Silver Lake Partners, as well as chip giants Intel and Qualcomm.