By Ben Otto
Google will invest 337.37 billion rupees ($4.48 billion) in Jio Platforms Ltd., becoming the latest foreign company to take a stake in the Indian telecommunications and technology giant.
Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Jio’s parent company, Reliance Industries Ltd., said in a shareholders meeting Wednesday that Google will take a 7.7% stake in Jio.
Jio and Google will work together to build an Android-based smartphone operating system as part of efforts to introduce low-cost 4G and 5G smartphones, he added.
Jio has raised billions of dollars from leading technology and private equity firms around the world this year. The investment by Alphabet Inc.’s Google follows Facebook Inc., Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, KKR & Co., General Atlantic LLC, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, sovereign investor Mubadala Investment Co. and Qualcomm Ventures.
Reliance has spent more than $30 billion building upstart mobile operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., which is part of Jio Platforms. Jio has attracted more than 388 million subscribers with inexpensive mobile-data plans and is now moving into e-commerce, as legions of people in the country of 1.3 billion begin transacting online for the first time.
Mr. Ambani, also Reliance’s largest shareholder, said the company has become debt-free ahead of schedule. He added that Jio has developed a 5G system and will launch 5G services in India.
By Ben Otto