Facebook has announced an investment of $5.7 billion (INR 43,574 crore) in Jio Platforms Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries.
With the signing of binding agreements, Facebook has a 9.99% stake in Jio, making it the largest minority stakeholder. The investment values by Facebook values Jio Platforms at $65.95 billion (₹ 4.62 lakh crore).
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post, “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.”
Additionally, WhatsApp and Reliance Retail have also entered into a commercial partnership agreement that aims to bring the messaging platform and Reliance Retail’s JioMart together. Mukesh Ambani welcoming Facebook as a partner explained in a video that both companies share the commitment of an “all-around digital transformation of India.”
The transformation mainly focuses on enabling small businesses, small merchants and farmers by developing new ways to operate through platforms provided by Facebook and Reliance. WhatsApp is an already a widespread platform in India with over 400 million users. The platform is also used by small business like the kirana shop owners to be in touch with customers and even suppliers, while Reliance’s JioMart is a project by the company for small businesses and small merchants in India.
Now, these will be brought together as Facebook’s chief revenue officer David Fischer and VP for India Ajit Mohan explains, “by bringing together JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.”
The Economic Times had already reported last week that Facebook and Reliance wanted to create a WeChat-like app for India. By the looks of it, it looks like the companies are going for a muli-purpose platform for small businesses as Jio explains in a press release that the companies will “ensure that consumers are able to access the nearest kiranas who can provide products and services to their homes by transacting seamlessly with JioMart using WhatsApp.”