Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc has become the latest high-profile organisation to invest in India’s telecom giant Reliance Jio Platforms.
Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance India chairman on Wednesday confirmed that Google will invest over Rs 33,737, or USD 4.5 billion for a 7.7 per cent stake in Jio Platforms taking the string of investments well over Rs 1,52,000 crore.
Reportedly, Mukesh Ambani confirming Google’s investment during the 43rd AGM, said that Google and Jio are partnering to launch a new Android-based operating system which will be used to build affordable smartphones.
Mukesh Ambani announced that the new operating system is aimed at developing new smartphones that will be accessible to the massive Indian population that still uses 2G. The chairman claimed that Jio plans to make India ‘2G mukt’ by using this new operating system.
Google and Jio are partnering to build an Operating System that could power a value-engineered, entry-level 4G/5G smartphone. The Jio-Google partnership is determined to make India 2G-mukt: Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani at their 43rd Annual General Meeting pic.twitter.com/l1GjgwYa4a— ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2020
“Google has empowered millions of Indians to access helpful information and, like Jio, is a force for change and innovation. We welcome Google onboard and are excited about our partnership for what it can deliver to Indians, from universalising Internet usage to deepening the new digital economy and providing a prime mover to India’s economic growth. Together, we hope to play a strong facilitative role in the transformative journey of building a new, Digital India,” said Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani.
It is pertinent to note that Jio Platforms, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries has raised over $20.6 billion in the past four months from 13 investors by selling about 33% stake in the firm.
Google to invest to expand AI footprint, create internet awareness
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also spoke at the Reliance AGM, confirming the company’s strategic partnership in India with Jio Platforms. The CEO of Google and Alphabet said that Reliance Industries, and Jio Platforms, in particular, deserve a good deal of credit for India’s digital transformation.
“The pace and scale of digital transformation in India is hugely inspiring for us and reinforces our view that building products for India first helps us build better products for users everywhere. Google is proud to invest Rs 33,737 crore into Jio. I am excited that our joint collaboration will focus on increasing access for hundreds of millions of Indians who don’t currently own a smartphone while improving the mobile experience for all,” Pichai added.
Everyone should have access to the internet. Proud to partner with @reliancejio to increase access for the hundreds of millions in India who don’t own a smartphone with our 1st investment of $4.5B from the #GoogleForIndia Digitization Fund.https://t.co/1fP8iBZQfm— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) July 15, 2020
Earlier, Google had announced a $10 billion digital fund for India a few days back dedicated to investing in existing companies and also the expansion of AI footprint and spreading internet awareness in rural areas.
In the press release, Sundar Pichai had thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his push for digitisation in India. He had applauded how PM Modi laid the ‘strong foundation of digital connectivity’ in the country.