Google to invest $10 billion in India to power digitization

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Mumbai: Google will invest $10 billion in India over the next 5 to 7 years. Google’s $10 billion (approx INR 75,000 crore) funding announcement on Monday is nearly double of what Facebook’s $5.7 billion investment in Jio Platforms in April this year.

The Alphabet Inc-owned company is investing in India through a separate fund called Google for India Digitization Fund. Google in the past has invested in Indian businesses through its equity investment arm CapitalG that invests in emerging tech ventures.

But Google for India Digitization Fund is probably first of kind fund Google has initiated for any particular nation or region.

Google & Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced the $10 billion Google for India Digitization Fund during the company’s online event Google for India 2020.

“Today, I’m excited to announce the Google for India Digitization Fund. Through this effort, we will invest ₹75,000 crore, or approximately $10 billion, into India over the next 5-7 years,” said Pichai.

Google’s $10 billion investment is unlike that of Facebook’s $5.7 billion direct funding in Jio Platforms through a purchase of 9.9% equity in the Reliance Industries owned venture.

Also, Google is reportedly in advance talks to invest $4 billion Jio, according to some media reports.

Unlike Facebook, Google will invest $10 billion in India through different routes and means. That would allow the MountainView headquartered company to strengthened its presence in the Indian market.

Not just against its rivals but also will cement its place in the country’s evolving digital economy and its stakeholders through partnerships and engagements.

“We’ll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” added Pichai.

This does suggest, how Google wants to play a much bigger role in India’s evolving digital ecosystem at different levels and not remain limited to technology aspects.

Google said the $10 billion investments will focus on four areas important to India’s digitization that includes affordable information access in local languages, building new products and services relevant and specific to India. Also digitizing small and medium businesses in India, and using new technology like AI in health, education, and agriculture.

To make all these initiatives possible and successful, Google wants to work closely with the Indian government and PM Narendra Modi’s Digital India vision.

“As we make these investments, we look forward to working alongside Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government, as well as Indian businesses of all sizes to realize our shared vision for a Digital India,” Pichai said.

“Our goal is to ensure India not only benefits from the next wave of innovation, but leads it. Working together we can ensure that our best days are still ahead,” he concluded.

Google’s India funding move is also being viewed as a second option to China since the company failed to enter and crack China’s technology market.

China has over 900 million internet users by March this year, according to Statista data, making it the biggest tech market in terms of internet users base. While India is only second to China with over 666 million internet users by March 2020 and continues to attract investments from Silicon Valley-based large technology companies.

(Image source – Wallpapercave)

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