Alphabet Inc., better known as Google, will invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years. The purpose of the investments is to consolidate the company’s position in the country. India has the fifth largest economy in the world and over 500 million internet users. Foreign companies recognize that the digital future in India is bright and the country is shaping up to be a battleground for tech giants from around the globe.
Facebook Betting Big
Back in April, Facebook made its single largest investment in history by putting $5.7 billion dollars into Jio Platforms in India. Jio Platforms is part of India’s biggest conglomerate, Reliance Industries, which is a major provider in cellular and internet services. The bid from Facebook still requires approval from regulators, if approved, the $5.7 billion would translate into a 9.9% stake in Jio Platforms. Again, the reasoning behind the investment decision is due to the massive digital shift we are seeing in India and the fact that Jio Platforms has helped to bring hundreds of millions of people and SMBs online.
Google Betting Bigger
Alphabet’s investment almost doubles that of Facebook at $10 billion, and will be delivered through a mix of partnerships and equity investments in businesses of all sizes. India is a key market for Google. The products and services offered by the company include Google Search, YouTube and Android. 9 out of 10 smartphones sold in the country come pre-installed with Android. Considering the internet population in India and the promise of further improvements in infrastructure for the rest of the 830 million people, India is a massive market for growth for foreign companies like Google and Facebook.
Affordable Internet for Everyone
There’s still a lot of work to do in order to allow access to the internet for the whole population. There needs to be updates in the infrastructure in all parts of India’s rural areas, compatibility of voice input and computing of all different languages spoken and to encourage entrepreneurs all over the country to adopt and adapt to a digital society. The funds from Alphabet aim to focus on four different areas. Make the information in all languages easily accessible, whether it’s Tamil, Hindi or Punjabi. Building new services and products that align with the needs of Indian consumers. Encourage and enable businesses of all sizes to embrace digital transformation. Lastly, leverage technology to improve in critical areas like agriculture, education and health.