Facebook is taking a $5.7 billion stake into Jio Platforms, the Indian Internet giant, which could birth the next WeChat-style ‘Super-App.’
It’s a game-changer in the Indian Internet and Digital market. Facebook has announced it has invested $5.7 billion into Jio Platforms, the tech subsidiary of multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries.
Jio is an Internet monster in India. It operates broadband, mobile services, and online commerce platforms. It is so big that Facebook, $5.7 billion are only getting it a 10% stake in the company. But that will be enough to make Facebook the largest minority shareholder.
India represents Facebook’s biggest current market for WhatsApp which counts more than 400 million users in the country. In a blog post bylined by chief revenue officer, David Fischer and VP for India, Ajit Mohan, the company says one of the goals of its investment is to tap into opportunities for small businesses, noting that “WhatsApp is so ingrained in Indian life that it has become a commonly used verb across many Indian languages and dialects.”
Facebook and Jio Could Be Building The Next WeChat-style ‘Super-App’
Fischer and Mohan also write that “one focus of our collaboration with Jio will be creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy. For instance, by bringing together JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop, and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.”
Reading this, I cannot help but think that this is Facebook’s best move to finally build a ‘super app’ to compete with WeChat, which has more than a billion users and many small businesses using it for payments, promotion, and communication. Something Facebook could not dream of building alone.
Jio disrupted the Indian market by offering highly discount 4G plans before anyone else, bringing “more than 388 million people online,” according to Facebook’s blog post.
“We are excited about furthering our investment in India’s vibrant digital economy,” Fischer and Mohan write. “Our efforts with Jio will be focused on opening new doors and fueling India’s economic growth and the prosperity of its people. We look forward to working with Jio, and to future collaborations in India to advance this vision.”
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