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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

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2020 - Technology

Lawyers crystal-ball the Google antitrust case

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Justice Department's antitrust suit against Google is a strong, straightforward monopoly case, competition lawyers and experts tell Axios. But that doesn't mean it'll be an easy journey for the government.

The big picture: Winning any antitrust case is a heavy lift. It's even more of a challenge to pull off victory in a future-looking case that seeks to make room for potential new competition to flourish.

52 mins ago - World

Taiwan leader confirms U.S. troops on island training forces

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei earlier this month. Photo: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN Thursday that a small number of American troops are on the island for training purposes and she has "faith" the U.S. would defend the democracy against a Chinese military attack.

Why it matters: This is the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged the presence of U.S. troops on the self-governing island since the last U.S. garrison left in 1979, when Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.