Facebook has enjoyed unparalleled reach in India for over a decade. But as China’s fast growing bytedance emerges as a formidable competitor in the world’s second-largest Internet market, the American social media giant has found that it wants to wager in the new decade.
The world’s largest social media company announced today that it has invested $ 5.7 billion for a 9.99% stake in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms, a three-and-a-half-year-old subsidiary of the country’s most valuable company, Reliance Industries, And is the largest company. Telecom operator with more than 370 million subscribers in the country.
The deal, which valued Jio at a pre-money valuation of $ 65.95 billion, makes Facebook the largest minority shareholder of the Indian telecom network.
The social giant said the investment marks its commitment to India, where it will “focus on collaborating with Jio to create new ways for digital people and operate more effectively in a growing digital economy.” It is the largest investment for minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest foreign direct investment in technology in India.
David Fisher, Facebook’s Chief Revenue Officer, and Ajit Mohan, VP and Managing Director of Facebook India, an e-commerce business bringing together JioMart, a joint venture between Jio and Reliance Retail (the country’s largest) , Said that could be a possible collaboration. Retail chain), along with WhatsApp, which counts India as its largest market with over 400 million users. It is also the most popular smartphone app in India. (Facebook’s marquee service reaches around 350 million users in India, it says for brands on its website.
“We can enable people to engage with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience,” he said.
Reliance Jio, which began its commercial operations in the second half of 2016, grew the local telecom market by offering 4G data and voice calls for six months to users at no charge. Telco kicked off a price war that forced local network providers Vodafone and Airtel to revise their data plans and mobile tariffs; However, he struggled to match Jio’s offerings, becoming the top telecom operator in the country.
Reaching the users of Jio may be of interest to Facebook, which tried and failed to expand its free Internet initiative, Free Basics, in India. (The company has since expanded Express Wi-Fi in India – although its capacity and scale are comparatively small.)
Reliance Jio has a suite of services including music streaming service JioSaavn (which it plans to make public), smartphones, broadband businesses, on-demand live television service JioTV, and payment service JioPay.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We are making a financial investment, and more than that, we are committed to working together on some of the major projects that will help people in commerce across India Will open an opportunity.