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Facebook invests a mammoth $5.7 billion in Reliance Jio; acquires 9.99% stake in the company



Mark Zuckerberg
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In what turned out to be one of the most staggering Indo-American deals of the century, Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook invested a mammoth $5.7 billion in Jio (INR 43,574 Crore), a Reliance Industries’ company. Ever since its inception in late 2016, Jio took the nation by a storm and it enabled internet access to millions of people across the country, initially for free.

Reliance Jio has also played a crucial role in the rise of Facebook and Whatsapp as well as the internet penetration in India, in the last few years and has been a direct contributor to its growth. This investment from Facebook, which is also the biggest FDI ever made in Indian history for a minority stake, is expected to reduce debt and strengthen the social media company’s presence in its largest market, especially for its WhatsApp unit.

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 organizations like Jio have played a big part in getting hundreds of millions of Indian people and small businesses online. I want to thank Mukesh Ambani and the entire Jio team for their partnership. We’re looking forward to getting started,” Mark Zuckerberg said via his Facebook handle. 

“At the core of our partnership is the commitment that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and I share for the all-round digital transformation of India and for serving all Indians… In the post-corona era, I am confident of India’s economic recovery and resurgence in the shortest period of time,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and MD of RIL, in the statement released by the organization.

Retail revolution on its way?

A number of experts are predicting for this to be a huge revolution in the retail sector of this country, with Facebook and Jio agreeing to work on improving the market reach of JioMart and WhatsApp. They are aiming to improve the digital network in the country further in such a way that both organizations can benefit mutually.

The co-founder of Facebook also suggested that they will be working relentlessly to help small business owners across the country, who sum up to nearly 60 million.

During the lockdown, kiranas, hardware and electrical stores have been using WhatsApp for connecting with buyers. By leveraging the power of instant messaging app Whatsapp with JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative will enable people to connect with businesses, shops and make purchases in a seamless mobile experience, Facebook said.

“The companies will work closely to 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,” RIL said in a statement.