Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms Limited and Google Inc have signed an agreement with an investment of Rs.33,737 crore by Google into Jio Platforms. Google’s investment will be 7.73 per cent of equity stake in Jio Platforms.
With this, the total investment from financial and strategic investors into Jio Platforms stood at Rs.1,52,056 crore, said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, at its 43rd annual general body meeting held in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The investment will build on the company’s existing efforts to expand the benefits of digitisation in the country, beyond the current 500 plus million Internet users.
Both the companies have also entered into an agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone with optimisation to the Android Operating System and the Play Store. This effort will unlock new opportunities, further power the vibrant ecosystem of applications and push innovation to drive growth for the new Indian economy, said Mr. Ambani.
“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 the country’s economic growth,” he added.
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that the pace and scale of digital transformation in India were hugely inspiring for them and reinforced “our view that building products for India first helps us build better products for users everywhere… 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.”
“We can design an entry-level 4G or even a 5G smartphone. We believe that we can design such a phone at a fraction of the current cost. Google and Jio are partnering to build a value-engineered Android-based smartphone Operation System also,” Mr. Ambani added.
The RIL has also tied up with Microsoft and Facebook for technology support.
5G network next year
Jio’s vision is to introduce 5G in India next year to add one more million more mobile customers in the next three years. It has designed and developed a complete 5G solution domestically. It will be ready for trial as soon as the 5G spectrum is available. JioMart and WhatsApp have been working closely to help millions of small merchants and enable customers to seamlessly transact with kirana shops.
About Jio Glass, Mr. Ambani said, “The Jio Glass provides best-in-class mixed reality services to give users meaningful experience. Jio Glass is making teachers and students come together in 3D virtual rooms and conduct holographic classes through our Jio Mixed Reality cloud in real-time.”
Mr. Ambani announced a Jio TV Plus feature aggregating the content from over 12 leading global OTT players, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, Voot, SonyLiv, Zee5, JioCinema, JioSaavn, YouTube and many others. Through the Jio App Store, subscribers can have access to Internet applications such as entertainment, education, health, cooking, yoga, gaming, religion, and more, he added.
Mr. Ambani also offered to partner Indian startups that can help the country’s goal to make in India, for India and eventually for the whole world. “I believe there is no better partner for Indian startups than Jio,” the Reliance Chairman said at the company’s first virtual AGM.
Jio would extend support in technology and product development, help startups with distribution, market access and even scale-up capital. The ultimate target was to create a knowledge ecosystem and help solve India’s problems and help Indian companies succeed in the global scale, he said.