From March to November, even as COVID-19 shattered economies around the world, India's richest man was given more than $ 27 billion to bet on the future of the internet. More than half of the amount came from Silicon Valley. It started with $ 5,7 billion from Facebook in March, one of the largest investments in the history of the American company. Silver Lake Partners followed suit with its own investment a few weeks later, as did Palo Alto General Atlantic and TPG Capital.
Smaller investments were made by Qualcomm (QCOM) and Intel (INTC), before Google (GOOGL) entered the game with $ 4,5 billion.
The recipient of all these billions is Jio Platforms, part of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani. Jio started as a mobile network in 2016. Since then it has gathered about 400 million users, launching a streaming service, an application video conferencing, a broadband network and a digital payment service.
The extremely cheap data it offered brought hundreds of millions of Indians to the internet for the first time. When Ambani launched Jio, India had less than 350 million internet users. Now, it has 750 million.
Jio has become India's web portal and Ambani holds the keys. "Many of these changes, especially in terms of attracting people to the internet, have happened because of Jio," said Ajit Mohan, vice president and CEO. Facebook in India, on CNN Business.
Ambani's vision continues to grow
After raising more than $ 20 billion for Jio platforms, Reliance has attracted investors to its retail business. Between September and November, Reliance Retail raised about $ 6,4 billion, much of it from Jio investors, including Silver Lake, General Atlantic, TPG, and Saudi Arabia's state treasury.
The Ambani retail chain is the largest in India, with more than 12.000 stores. And he has made no secret of his ambitions to combine his commercial and technological empires to compete with two great American players. THE Amazon (AMZN) and Walmart (WMT) dominate India's online markets, controlling more than 60% of the market. Ambani plays aggressively to get some market share.
Even after all he has achieved, India's richest man is already planning his next move - bringing 5G to India in the second half of 2021.
Any of these plans alone would be a big deal and executing them all together is a huge request even for one of its top billionaires. world. His ambition is to radically transform the way more than one billion people communicate and make them markets their.
India first, then the world
For Silicon Valley, having a big player of your own in a foreign country is terribly positive and Jio is by far the biggest in India.
"Because Facebook and Google gave their money to Jio at a time when the world economy is in chaos, the Indian economy is in recession, why did they do it? "Obviously because there is more than just a financial investment," Thakurta said.
"The investment really came from the recognition that a company that had done a very amazing job in transforming it digital infrastructure in India in a short time, "said Mohan, head of Facebook in India.
From Ambani's point of view, a large-scale coalition of some of the biggest names in technology is just one way to promote Jio in all aspects of India's internet.
Source of information: edition.cnn.com