Google to invest $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms

(Image credit: Jio)

Jio Platforms' season of joy seems to be getting better and better. And as predicted, tech giant Google is set to invest $4.5 billion (Rs 33,737 crore) for a 7.7% stake in Reliance Industries' digital subsidiary, Jio Platforms. This was revealed by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani at the company's much-anticipated 43rd Annual General Meeting that was held on a virtual platform --- its own video conferencing service JioMeet.

With this announcement, Google becomes the second biggest investor in Jio Platforms. The top-most investor, of course, is its arch rival Facebook which put in $5.7 billion in April for a 9.9% stake.

Google and Jio are partnering to build an Operating System that could power a value engineered, entry-level 4G/5G smartphone, Mukesh Ambani said.

With Google's gargantuan investment, Jio Platforms has raised over $20.6 billion in the past 13 weeks from 13 investors by selling about 33% stake in the firm.

Both CEOs pleased

Insert quote hereReliance Industries, and Jio Platforms in particular, deserve a good deal of credit for India’s digital transformation.

Sundar Pichai

In a separate press release, Mukesh Ambani, said: “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.” 

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said, “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 ₹ 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.” 

Sanjay Gupta, Country Head & VP, Google India, in a separate blog said, "Google and Jio Platforms have entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone with optimizations to the Android operating system and the Play Store."

Google and its commitment

Google and Jio are partnering to build an Operating System that could power a value engineered, entry-level 4G/5G smartphone.

Mukesh Ambani

On Monday, Google Alphabet's CEO Sundar Pichai had stated that his company was commiting itself to an investment of $10 billion in India over a time frame of 5 to 7 years. And just in two days, Google has put in nearly 50% of that said ammount in a single company. Google has confirmed that this is indeed the first investment from the Google For India Digitization Fund announced on Monday.

Tech biggies like Facebook and Google making huge investments reflect their confidence in Jio Platforms as well as the Indian market as much.

At a time when Indian economy is reeling precariously due to the Covid-19 impact, such votes of confidence from foreign investors augur well for the country to bounce back quickly.

Jio Platforms has amassed nearly 390 million subscribers to become the top carrier in the world’s second largest internet market in less than four years of its existence.

Jio Platforms also offers other digital services like music streaming player and a video conferencing app. 

Reliance Industries has become a net debt free company, well before the scheduled date of March 31, 2021, by selling more than 25 per cent stake in Jio Platforms and unveiling a rights issue of Rs 53,124 crore.

Jio and 5G

Meanwhile, Mukesh Ambani also said that Jio has developed made-in-India 5G platform. "The new platform developed from scratch will enable Jio to launch a world-class 5G service in India," Ambani said.

Once the platform has achieved scale, Jio will start offering the 5G network infrastructure services to telecom services.

Aside from Google, the other investors in Jio Platforms include Facebook, Silver Lake (1 and 2), KKR, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, TPG,  L Catterton, PIF and Intel Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.