Facebook ploughs $5.7 billion into Indian telco Jio

Social network to become the largest minority shareholder in Indian telco.

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Image: Alex Haney

Facebook is set to part with $5.7 billion, or ₹43,574 crore, to become the largest minority shareholder in Indian telco Reliance Jio.

The social network said the reason for its investment was to boost India's digital economy, especially its 60 million small businesses.

"For instance, by bringing together JioMart, Jio's small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience," the company said in a blog post.

"Our efforts with Jio will be focused on opening new doors and fueling India's economic growth and the prosperity of its people."

Facebook added that Jio had garnered 388 million customers in under four years.

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At the end of 2019, the Indian telco's third quarter had 370 million subscribers, with an average monthly spend per user of ₹128, or $1.67.

Revenue for the digital services segment of its Reliance parent company, through which Jio reported, increased by 36% year on year to ₹17,555 crore, and earnings before interest and taxes increased 63% to ₹3,857 crore.

In August, Jio and Microsoft signed a 10-year cloud agreement.

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