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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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For tech's big four, big contrasts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four firms —Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple — now form the de facto roster of Big Tech, thanks to Congress' decision to interrogate their CEOs together at a landmark antitrust hearing Monday. (Sorry, Microsoft, but maybe it's for the best.)

The big four share enormous power, massive resources, high ideals and, more recently, troubled public images. But there are enormous differences among them, too — and their leaders will be leaning on those contrasts as lawmakers grill them.

Jul 28, 2020 - Technology

Tech defenders, critics line up shots ahead of hearing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Either Big Tech's top companies preside benignly over healthily competitive markets, or they ruthlessly exploit their power to crush upstarts and challengers.

The big picture: Which conclusion you draw will depend upon where you dip into the slew of new studies, polls and policies the firms and their critics are unleashing ahead of Wednesday's historic congressional testimony by the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 18,288,573 — Total deaths: 693,805 — Total recoveries — 10,916,907Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 4,713,562 — Total deaths: 155,469 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Education — Fauci: Schools can reopen with safeguards, but those in virus hot spots should remain closed
  4. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  5. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  6. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.