It seems as though American tech companies Google and Microsoft are following Facebook’s footsteps of pouring a considerable amount of money in the Indian telecom sector. Google is reportedly in talks with financially-stressed Vodafone Idea to purchase up to 5 percent stake in the firm.
On the other hand, Microsoft is planning to invest as much as USD 2 billion in Reliance Industry’s digital wing. Reliable reports cite that Google is also holding talks with the Reliance Jio platform to buy some stakes.
News about Microsoft's interest in Reliance’s digital wing has been swirling in the Indian market for over a month, though both the firms have declined to comment on the matter. The Google spokesperson declined to comment on the matter as well.
Over the past few weeks, the Indian telecom giant has raised USD 10.3 billion from several investors including General Atlantic, Vista, Silver Lake, KKR, and Facebook. Social media giant Facebook invested USD 5.7 billion in the company’s Jio platforms.
Speaking about Facebook’s investment in the digital wing of Reliance, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that that the company would continually work with Jio platforms to support small businesses and merchants to come online. The two firms have already started working on the same.
In recent years, India has emerged as one of the most lucrative markets for American companies that are looking to target the nation’s 1.3 billion consumer pool. The American tech giants have forged several partnerships with Indian telecom operators to expand their business reach in the nation. Microsoft has collaborated with Jio to bring Office 365 for small-scale businesses at a subsidized cost. Similarly, Google partnered with the telecom company Airtel for its Google Cloud services.
In the last decade, Google and Facebook have launched connectivity efforts in the nation to bring more and more people online. While Facebook continues one such effort named ‘Express Wi-Fi’ in India, Google halted a project that could give free internet access to millions of people for free at more than 400 railway stations in this year.