An Indian internet giant that offers broadband, mobile services, and online commerce platforms, Jio platform just received a huge investment of $4.5 billion for a 7.73 percent stake from search engine giant, Google.
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani confirmed on Wednesday, that Google is the company’s latest investor. It is all part of the plans of Google investing $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years, but Jio’s investment is the very first investment from the Google For India Digitization Fund.
Around April’s ending, Facebook became the largest minority stakeholder in Jio Platforms, as the company invested a whopping $5.7 billion into Jio Platforms for a 9.99% stake in it.
Right after Facebook’s investment, it amassed more than 400 million subscribers in less than four years of its existence. For reference sake, Jio Platforms is the tech subsidiary of Reliance Industries and Reliance Industries is India’s most valued firm.
Reliance Industries also raised about $20.2 billion in the past four months from 13 investors by selling about a 33% stake in the firm, which is larger than the $14.5 billion from the entire Indian startup ecosystem.
The companies include the following, General Atlantic, Silver Lake, Qualcomm, Intel, and Vista have paid a 12.5% premium for their stake in Jio Platforms. But Google’s new investment gives Jio Platforms an equity valuation of $58 billion.
During the announcement, Google also pitches on the idea that they are working with the Jio Platform on an entry-level affordable smartphone. Google said, “Together we are excited to rethink, from the ground up, how millions of users in India can become owners of smartphones…”
Google also mentioned the fact that the majority of people in the country don’t have access to the internet, with fewer smartphone owners, that the investment in Jio will bring smartphones to more users in India, especially with Jio’s 400 million subscribers.
In support with Google, Reliance Industries chairman, and India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani said this work will involve creating a customized version of Android designed for low-cost, entry-level smartphones.
Sundar Pichai, chief executive at Google also noted that “Getting technology into the hands of more people is a big part of Google’s mission,” And Ambani also said that these phones will support Google Play and future wireless 5G standard.
Before now, the Jio platform has shipped at least 40 million feature JioPhone, which is powered by Google’s KaiOS and these phones support interesting apps, including Facebook’s WhatsApp.
After banning dozens of apps from India including TikTok, WeChat, and others, Asia’s third-largest economy confirmed that the country is trying to limit/reduce its reliance on Chinese firms. The US is also trying to reduce its partnership with Chinese firms.
Aside from Jio’s service, the company also operates a range of digital services, which includes a music streaming player, a video conferencing app, JioMeet, and even its new wearable device, Jio Glass -which can be able to perform video calls and access more than two dozen apps.