Jul 15, 2020 - Technology

Google to invest $4.5 billion in India's Jio

A woman talking on a cellular phone walks past a Jio store in Kolkata, India.

Photo: Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investing $4.5 billion in India's Jio Platforms, with plans to team up on an entry-level smartphone, the tech giant announced Wednesday.

The big picture: Jio has become tech's favorite bet on India as perhaps the world's greatest digital growth market. Google is following the likes of Intel, Qualcomm and Facebook in investing in Jio, which houses India's largest wireless carrier and a range of other tech and telecom assets.

Details: The investment, which still has to be cleared by Indian regulators, would give Google a 7.7% stake in Jio, a subsidiary of Mumbai-based industrial and retail conglomerate Reliance Industries.

  • It represents the first investment from the company's Google For India Digitization Fund announced earlier this week. Google plans to invest up to $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years, focused on digitizing local businesses and using AI for "social good," among other priorities.

The bottom line: India, the world's biggest democracy with a rapidly modernizing economy, has become the hottest market for tech investors looking for an alternative to investing in authoritarian China.

Go deeper: Meet Jio, everyone's favorite Indian tech investment

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