April 22 (UPI) — Facebook has announced that it is investing $5.7 billion into Jio Platforms, an Indian technology company.
The U.S. social media corporation said Tuesday in the announcement that the deal makes it Jio’s largest minority shareholder with a 9.99 percent equity stake.
Jio Platforms is a technology company that encompasses several services, including Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, a telecommunications company it says has more than 380 million subscribers.
“This investment underscores our commitment to India and our excitement for the dramatic transformation that Jio has spurred in the country,” David Fischer, Facebook’s chief revenue officer, and Ajit Mohan, the company’s vice president and managing director for India, said in a statement.
The pair said Jio has brought more than 388 million people in India online in under four years, and Facebook plans to collaborate with it on connecting the country’s growing Internet users with its more than 60 million small businesses through the use of its social media technology.
They said the country is in the midst of one of the “most dynamic social and economic transformations” the world has ever seen due to the rapid adoption of digital technologies, and they plan to create ways for business and people to operate in the digital economy, such as using WhatsApp to enable people to connect, shop and buy products from those small companies with the use of the phone.
“We are excited about furthering our investment in India’s vibrant digital economy,” they said. “Our efforts with Jio will be focused on opening new doors and fueling India’s economic growth and the prosperity of its people.”
In a separate statement, Jio said the deal, pending regulatory and customary approvals, is the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company in the world.
Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Jio’s parent company, Reliance Industries Limited, said he’s “humbled” to welcome Facebook as Jio’s long-term partner in the effort to “transform the digital ecosystem of India for the benefit of all Indians.”
Echoing Facebook, Jio said its goal for the investment is to create new opportunities for all but especially small businesses to create “digital ecosystems that will empower, enrich and uplift the lives of all 1.3 billion Indians.”