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Google's $10 billion investment in India about cultivating developers, future SMB customers

Google for India Digitization Fund will invest in areas such as Internet access, new products and services, SMB development and leveraging AI for social good.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Google's $10 billion investment in India is a way to land future developers as well as cultivate small businesses that could become advertisers. Facebook's recent $5.7 billion investment in Jio Platforms Limited is following a similar playbook.

In a blog post, Google outlined a $10 billion investment in India's digitization over the next five to seven years with its Google for India Digitization Fund. The fund will cover equity investments, partnerships, infrastructure, and operations. Investment areas will include Internet access, new products and services, SMB development, and leveraging AI for social good.

Also: Indian IT desperately needed a new business model and coronavirus gave it one

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in remarks:

One of the most exciting success stories has been the digitization of small businesses. Just four years ago, only one-third of all small businesses in India had an online presence. Today, 26 million SMBs are now discoverable on Search and Maps, driving connections with more than 150 million users every month. What's more, small merchants across the country are now equipped to accept digital payments. This has made it possible for more small businesses to become part of the formal economy, and it improves their access to credit.

Google's investment as well as Facebook's can fall under the country's Digital India plan.

Also: The Facebook-Reliance tango is great for both companies, but is it good for India?

Why is India a good place to invest?

  • The market is huge. India has 1.3 billion people with 560 million online.
  • There's a good tech talent base that can fuel both Google and Facebook.
  • India, which is mobile-first, is an interesting testbed for new applications and approaches.
  • India is also a counterweight to China. India bans 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, UC Browser, Weibo, and WeChat
  • And should Facebook and Google cultivate SMBs they will serve as advertisers that can fuel growth in the future?

More investment in India:

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