This morning we woke up with the news that Facebook had invested $ 5.7 billion in Jio, the largest operator in India. It is only a 9.99% share of the company’s total shareholders, but that makes them the largest shareholder to date.
At first sight, Facebook’s investment in the conglomerate makes perfect sense. India is one of the most important countries for Zuckerberg’s future interests.
In addition to having 350 million users in India for Facebook alone, the reality is that his other company, WhatsApp, is the queen of messaging in the country. In fact, it is the region with the highest number of users in the world. A total of 400 million. Not even the growth of other fashion platforms, such as Tik Tok, has diminished the strength of Facebook in India.
With these figures, Facebook’s interest in establishing internet connection systems reaches much larger dimensions. Since 2016, the social network has shown its interest in supporting free connection networks for regions under the Free Basic project. Always in the eye of controversy, this movement was understood by many as a way to get new users to their network through a charitable act.
Controversial aside, Zuckerberg already has Indian users in his pocket, and now his interests point somewhat higher. During the last election campaign in the United States, media from around the world played with the possibility that Zuckerberg himself he was already preparing his way to the electoral race of future elections; A change in his communication strategy, previously from doors to the inside, turned a character who was delighted to meet politicians and personalities, in addition to creating his own charity. It was not crazy, another well-known businessman, Donald Trump, had achieved his goal months before.
Time will tell if Zuckerberg one day positions himself in the White House – the world has yet to forget the controversies associated with the leaks and purchase of false advertising on Facebook – but his strategy of being close to the world’s politicians is still very active . In addition to Facebook’s powerful figures in India, her relationship with Jio goes one step further in business.
Jio is owned by Mukesh Ambani, the country’s richest man and one of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s closest allies.
The operator is owned by the Reliance Industries conglomerate of companies with commercial interests in the energy, commerce, textile or petrochemical sectors. Despite the fact that Jio is its largest company, with 388 million clients in the country, the power of the group goes one step further. Controlling the prices of the telecommunications industry, always on the downside with aggressive offers that force its competitors to review all its metrics, as explained by Techcrunch. Facebook’s bet is also support for the arrival of ByteDance (Tik Tok) from China – a powerful competitor that wants to endorse the second largest internet market in the world. It goes without saying that for Jio it is also an interest of great importance: Facebook, together with Google, controls the digital Indian market.
This investment also marks “commitment to India” and a new way of creating “new ways for companies and individuals to operate more effectively,” they explained in a statement. But it is also an approach to the great powers of India. Jio is owned by Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in the country and one of the closest allies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In fact, the social network and all its subsidiaries (including the investment in Meesho and Unacademy) have been closely watched by the Modi government. An approach would suppose a relaxation of the scrutiny to the North American company and an entry on Modi’s political agenda which, among other issues, aims to create ‘Digital India’: a system that allows increasing business in the country through networks focused on small and medium-sized companies. A sector in which WhatsApp has long wanted to enter, but is still resisting it due to the lack of the necessary permits in India.
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