Google has announced that they’ve reached an agreement with Jio Platforms Ltd to invest $4.5 billion (INR 33,737) crore for a 7.73 percent stake in the company. The deal will be finalised following the regulatory review in India.
This is their first investment as a part of the Google for India Digitisation Fund announced earlier this week where the company projected INR 75,000 crore (roughly $10 billion) investment into the Indian market over the next 5-7 years.
Google’s $4.5 billion investment in Jio uses up almost half of the fund that the company allocated to help empower businesses in India’s digital future.
The two companies will be collaborating to develop an entry-level smartphone that runs an optimised Android OS and Play Store — something the company already offers via its Android Go line of smartphones.
It’s funny how Google used up almost half of that projected investment fund for the next five to seven years within the first week on a single investment, in a company that happens to be owned by the richest person in the country.
The Google for India Digitisation Fund is aimed at enhancing four core areas, which included enabling affordable access to devices and information in native Indian languages such as Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil, among others and this deal with might fulfil this aim.
“We’ve been humbled by the way Indians have embraced Android over recent years. We think the time is right to increase our commitment to India significantly, in collaboration with local companies, and this partnership with Jio is the first step. We believe the pace of Indian innovation means that the experiences we create for India can ultimately be expanded to the rest of the world,” Google announced.
The digitisation fund also aims to create new products and services that are relevant to the need of Indian consumers, empower businesses as they transform to the digital ecosystem and leverage the use of AI and other developing techs in areas like health, education and agriculture.
Jio’s disruption in the Indian telecom market in late 2016 drove internet data prices down significantly at unprecedented rates countrywide and forced some companies like Vodafone and Idea to join hands to survive the new market force.
With a new smartphone in collaboration with Google specifically made for the needs of Indian consumers, Jio could yet again disrupt the Indian smartphone consumer market and bring internet access to even more people across the country.
“We look forward to bringing smartphone access to more Indians—and exploring the many ways we can work together to improve Indians’ lives and advance India’s digital economy.”