Google confirms backing up India's Reliance Jio platforms by investing $4.5 billion after its rival social media platform, Facebook, made a bet on the company. Techcrunch reported that Google confirmed it invested on India's Jio Platforms on Wednesday, July 15, becoming the latest high-profile firm to back up the company.
The $4.5 billion investment of the search giant is for a 7.73% stake in the top Indian telecom network, said Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani. CNBC confirmed that the stake is valued at $65 billion. Google Vice President Sameer Samat confirmed Google's decision in a blog post after Facebook pumped $5.7 billion to Jio Platforms 4 months ago, making Facebook the largest minority stakeholder in India's platforms.
$20.2 billion was raised in the past four months by the subsidiary of Indian's most valued firm, Reliance Industries. Jio platforms sold about a 33% stake in the firm to 13 investors. India's Reliance Jio Platforms received an equity valuation of $58 billion with Google's new investment. 12.5% premium was paid by other investors such as Silver Lake, General Atlantic, Qualcomm, Vista, and Intel for their stake in Jio Platforms.
India and Google are also planning to produce affordable entry-level smartphones by working on a customized version of the Android operating system as part of the two company's strategic announcements. Ambani said that the upcoming smartphones will support Google Play and future wireless standard 5G to serve the next hundreds of millions of users.
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
"Getting technology into the hand of more people is a big part of Google's mission," said Google's chief executive, Sundar Pichai.
"Together we are excited to rethink, from the ground up, how millions of users in India can become owners of smartphones," he added. Pichai also claimed that the partnership will power the vibrant ecosystem of applications, unlocking new opportunities.
India's Reliance Jio Platforms reveals the "Jio Glass"
Jio Platforms operate a wide range of digital services, including a video conferencing app and a music streaming player. The company confirmed on July 15 that a new digital service will soon be unveiled; the Jio Glass. Its users can now access more than two dozen apps and perform video calls using Jio Glass.
However, information such as the price, and the release date was not yet provided by Jio Platforms. This reflects their usual activities since Jio Platforms already revealed other devices in the past that take years before reaching the public.