Jio Platforms picks up Rs 730 Cr investment from Qualcomm as Mukesh Ambani pushes 5G
US chipmaking giant Qualcomm's venture arm has invested Rs 730 crore (approximately $97 million) in Jio Platforms for a 0.15 percent stake. This is the 13th foreign investment in Reliance's $65 billion digital business in a span of 12 weeks.
"The investment will deepen the ties between Qualcomm and Jio Platforms to support Jio Platforms on its journey to roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers," Reliance said in a statement.
Following the investment from Qualcomm Ventures, Jio Platforms' total fundraise stands at Rs 118, 318.45 crore (approximately $15.7 billion). Reliance has diluted 25.24 percent equity in Jio so far as it looks to make the entity debt-free.
Qualcomm's investment comes about a week after another American chipmaker Intel invested $253 million in Jio Platforms through its venture arm, Intel Capital.
It also follows a series of investments in Jio from marquee strategic and equity investors, including Facebook (Jio's largest minority shareholder), Silver Lake Partners, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, additional investments from Silver Lake companies, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), TPG Capital, L Catterton, and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and MD of Reliance Industries, said,
“Qualcomm has been a valued partner for several years and we have a shared vision of connecting everything by building a robust and secure wireless and digital network and extending the benefits of digital connectivity to everyone in India. As a world leader in wireless technologies, Qualcomm offers deep technology knowhow and insights that will help us deliver on our 5G vision and the digital transformation of India for both people and enterprises.”
Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator, and is dominating the 5G charge. In the last 35 years, it has spent more than $62 billion in research and development, owning over 140,000 patents and patent applications.
Its investment fund, Qualcomm Ventures, backs disruptive companies in sectors like 5G, AI, IoT, automotive, networking, and enterprise. It has over 140 active portfolio companies globally.
Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Inc., said in a statement,
“With our shared goal of extending the benefits of digital connectivity to everyone and everything, we anticipate Jio Platforms will deliver a new set of services and experiences to Indian consumers. With unmatched speeds and emerging use cases, 5G is expected to transform every industry in the coming years. As an enabler and investor with a longstanding presence in India, we look forward to playing a role in Jio's vision to further revolutionise India’s digital economy.”
Interestingly, this isn't the first time that Jio and Qualcomm have collaborated.
Back in 2018, the two companies were reportedly working on a 4G-enabled laptop for India, which could be powered by Qualcomm chips and Jio SIMs. While not much came of that, the present partnership is likely to usher in the 5G age in India.
The Jio-Qualcomm transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals in India.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)