Facebook buys 10% of India’s largest operator for $5.7 billion. This is the largest operation of the social network outside the United States and exceeds what they paid for Instagram and Oculus VR.
Facebook invests heavily in the Asian continent: those of Zuckerberg have just unleashed 5.7 billion in Jio Platforms, the technological subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries. Jio is the largest telemarketer in the country: it operates various broadband platforms, mobile services and online commerce, and Facebook’s investment gives it a stake of around 10% in the company, making it the largest minority shareholder.
The main footprint of Facebook in India currently comes from its huge WhatsApp user base: more than 400 million Indians use the messaging application, much more than any other country in the world. In a blog post by Revenue Director David Fischer and Vice President of India Ajit Mohan, the company says one of its investment goals is to take advantage of opportunities for small businesses, noting that “WhatsApp is so ingrained in Indian life. It has to become a verb in common use in many Indian languages and dialects.”
“One focus of our collaboration with Jio will be to create new ways for individuals and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy,” write Fischer and Mohan. The alliance could enable people to connect with businesses, buy, and ultimately buy products in a seamless mobile experience, as those responsible say.
Economic Times of India reported last week that Facebook and Reliance were planning to take advantage of WhatsApp and Jio services to create a WeChat-style “super-app” for India. It should be noted that the latter has a massive penetration in China, with more than a billion users and many small companies that use it for payments, promotion and communication.
The reach of WhatsApp in India is practically parallel to that of Jio, which turned out to offer 4G plans with huge discounts much earlier than its competitors. The company has “brought more than 388 million people online,” according to the Facebook blog post. Facebook has tried before to provide Internet access in India, although its Free Basics program has been truncated and finally banned for violating net neutrality.
“We are excited to drive our investment into India’s vibrant digital economy,” write Fischer and Mohan. “Our efforts with Jio will focus on opening new doors and driving 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. ”
It is the largest Facebook operation outside the United States, and a larger purchase than that of Instagram and Oculus VR.
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