Finally, it has happened, after lots of chit chats and talks, Google is finally making a bet on Jio. The search engine giant will invest Rs 33,737 crore in Jio Platforms, the telecom and digital arm of Reliance Industries (RIL). This would translate to 7.73 per cent stake in Jio which now has an equity value of Rs 4.36 lakh crore.
The partnership would also build a custom Android Operating System that could power a value-engineered, entry-level 4G/5G smartphone from Jio. According to Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of RIL “the Jio-Google partnership is determined to make India 2G-mukt,”.
This investment would also push Jio’s and Google’s effort of digitization across the length and breadth of India, reaching beyond the current 500+ million Internet users in the country. This partnership would also boost the startup ecosystem, as it would bring new opportunities, offers a vibrant ecosystem of applications and innovation to drive growth for the new Indian economy.
With this investment, Jio Platforms has in total raised Rs 152,056 crore. Till date, the company has attracted thirteen leading global investors and fourteen investments. The investment came from Facebook, Silver Lake (2 investment), Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, ADIA, TPG, L Catterton, PIF, Intel, Qualcomm and finally Google.
“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 are 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“, said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet.
In the last three-and-a-half-year Reliance Jio has disrupted the entire telecom and digital ecosystem of India. With cheap data plans, the telco has gathered more than 388 million subscribers, thus wearing the crown of top telecom operator in India. The telco has built its world-class eco-system with services like JioTV (live tv streaming), JioSaavn (music streaming), JioPay (payment service), JioFibre broadband, LYF smartphones and smart devices. The best part here is that the telco has been offering these devices, applications, content and services at affordable tariffs as part of Jio Digital Life.
Moving ahead, Jio has also entered the retail sector with the launch of JioMart. With a backbone of more than 7K stores spread across India, JioMart is slowly pushing itself to more cities and regions.
“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 Mr Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of RIL.