Mukesh Ambani thanks Facebook for starting "FDI avalanche" in India with Reliance Jio investment
At the inaugural Facebook Fuel for India 2020 event, Reliance Industries Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani singled out the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company for praise.
Ambani credited Facebook for starting the "FDI avalanche" in India in the middle of a pandemic with its $5.7 billion investment in Reliance Jio in April 2020.
Facebook is now the largest minority shareholder in Reliance's $65 billion digital arm. Its investment also led to a series of continuous funding in Jio, with leading strategic and equity investors pouring in over $20 billion in India's largest internet company.
Ambani told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a virtual session,
"Facebook and Jio closed its partnership in the middle of a lockdown. Your investment set the ball rolling not only for Jio but also for Indian FDI, which is the largest in history. Thank you for your faith in India."
"We at Jio immensely value our partnership with Facebook. We will become a value creation platform for our customers and small businesses, giving them a chance to digitise and be at par with anybody else in the world. Our actions will speak more than words in the coming months," he added.
Facebook became Jio's largest minority shareholder after a $5.7 billion investment
Ambani also called Zuckerberg the "architect of the digital network" of the world. "We look forward to your innovation in India. We would be very proud if Facebook says that it did something first in India and then took it to 100 other countries," he stated.
The Facebook founder, meanwhile, commended Ambani and Reliance Jio for ushering in a 4G revolution in India, and leading the 5G wave now.
Zuckerberg also spoke about India's untapped potential and why the country of 1.4 billion interests him from a digital opportunity perspective.
“What happens in India is important for the whole world. India is building local capabilities and tech capacity to power innovative new business models and provide the citizens access to digital financial inclusion. So, decisions that are made here shape the global discussion about how technology can drive more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people.”
“One of the big opportunities I see with the partnership with Jio Platforms is the role that we can play together in supporting the millions of small businesses in India, especially now with the impact that COVID-19 is having. It is accelerating the move for a lot of businesses from physical storefronts to digital," he explained.
JioMart is live in 200 cities, a reach second to only Amazon Pantry
Both Reliance and Facebook underscored JioMart as a joint opportunity.
The offline-to-online commerce platform from the Reliance stable launched in 200 Indian cities earlier this year, and is already second only to in terms of SKUs, and Amazon Pantry by geographical reach.
Ambani and Zuckerberg highlighted that the WhatsApp Pay rollout, which began last month, will give a boost to JioMart's operations.
"WhatsApp Pay brings in payments and the ability to close transactions, while JioMart offers unmatched offline and online retail experience to tens of millions of small shopkeepers who are the bedrock of the Indian economy," Ambani said.
Zuckerberg revealed that 15 million out of the 50 million merchants using WhatsApp for Business globally are in India, and the Facebook-Jio partnership will further "impact this segment".
"At Facebook, we are in the business of serving small businesses. And nowhere is this more true than in India. With more than 60 million small businesses and millions of people around the country relying on them for jobs, these small businesses form a big part of what our partnership with Jio can serve here," he stated.