Facebook takes $ 5.7 billion stake in Indian Internet giant Jio

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Facebook made a huge bet on India by investing $ 5.7 billion in Jio Platforms, the technology subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries. Jio operates a variety of broadband services, mobile services and online trading platforms, and Facebook’s investment gives him approximately 10% of the company’s capital, making it the largest minority shareholder.

Facebook’s main footprint in India currently comes from its large WhatsApp user base; more than 400 million Indians use the messaging app, far more than any other country in the world. In a blog article highlighted by revenue director David Fischer and vice president for India Ajit Mohan, the company says that one of the objectives of its investment is to seize opportunities for small businesses, noting that “WhatsApp is so ingrained in Indian life that it has become a verb commonly used in many Indian languages ​​and dialects. “

“One of the goals of our collaboration with Jio will be to create new ways for individuals and businesses to operate more efficiently in the growing digital economy,” write Fischer and Mohan. “For example, by joining JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, buy and ultimately buy products in one experience.” mobile transparent. “

Last week, India Economic time said Facebook and Reliance plan to use WhatsApp and Jio services to create a WeChat-style “super-app” for India. Tencent’s WeChat has massive penetration in China, with more than a billion users and many small businesses using it for payments, promotion and communication.

The reach of WhatsApp in India is almost matched by Jio, who has proven to be extremely disruptive in the market by offering heavily reduced 4G plans long before competitors. The company “put more than 388 million people online,” according to the Facebook blog. Facebook has previously attempted to provide Internet access in India, although its ill-conceived Free Basics program was ultimately banned for violating net neutrality.

“We are delighted to continue investing in India’s dynamic digital economy,” write Fischer and Mohan. “Our efforts with Jio will focus on opening new doors and on India’s economic growth and the prosperity of its people. We look forward to working with Jio and future collaborations in India to advance this vision. “

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