Social media giant Facebook has announced to invest $5.7 billion (Rs. 43,574 Cr.) in Jio Platforms, a part of Reliance Industries. Facebook will have a 9.99% stake in the company.
The deal, which makes Facebook the largest minority shareholder in Jio, comes after the government approved WhatsApp’s digital payment service. The Facebook-owned platform is now set to compete with the likes of Google Pay and Paytm for a market that will be worth $135.2 billion in 2023, according to an Assocham-PWC India study.
According to a blog post by Facebook, the major reason behind the deal that made Facebook the largest minority shareholder is to combine JioMart and WhatsApp powers to “enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience”.
WhatsApp has 400 million users in India, its biggest market, reaching nearly 80 per cent of smartphone users in the country.
“Facebook is teaming up with Jio Platforms – we’re making a financial investment, and more than that, we’re committing to work together on some major projects that will open up commerce opportunities for people across India,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.
“India is home to the largest communities on Facebook and WhatsApp and a lot of talented entrepreneurs. The country is in the middle of a major digital transformation, and organisations like Jio have played a big part in getting hundreds of millions of Indians, small businesses online,” he added.
The main focus of the deal is to come up with digital-based solutions for 60 million micro, small and medium businesses, 120 million farmers, 30 million small merchants and millions of small and medium enterprises in the informal sector.
With this investment, Jio Platforms is valued at Rs 4.62 lakh crore. The said deal with help Reliance Industries to reduce debt further and allow the Mark Zuckerberg-led company to get a stronger foothold in what is the US major’s largest market.
“Reliance Industries Limited, Jio Platforms Limited and Facebook, Inc. today announced the signing of binding agreements for an investment of Rs43,574 crore by Facebook into Jio Platforms,” RIL said in a statement.