Apr 22, 2020 - Technology

Facebook invests $5.7 billion in India's largest telecom operator

Illustration of a collection of 100 dollar bills with money clip shaped like the facebook logo
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook is spending $5.7 billion to become the largest minority shareholder of Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio, the company announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters, via Axios' Ina Fried: Facebook has long sought a way to get more people in India using its services. In the past it has looked to subsidize mobile traffic to its services, a move that drew the ire of net neutrality advocates and other critics.

Details: Facebook is investing in Jio Platforms, the telecom and tech subsidiary of Mumbai-based conglomerate Reliance Industries. The companies plan to pair WhatsApp and JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, for mobile shopping, Facebook's Chief Revenue Officer David Fischer and Jio's VP Ajit Mohan said in a joint press release.

What they're saying: "India is in the midst of one of the most dynamic social and economic transformations the world has ever seen, driven by the rapid adoption of digital technologies. In just the past five years, more than 560 million people in India have gained access to the internet," Fischer and Mohan said.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Facebook is investing in Jio Platforms (not Jio Systems).

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