The announcement was made by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai during the “Google for India 2020” digital event. The event also featured Sanjay Gupta, the country manager and VP of Google India, and some other Indian politicians.
“Through this effort, we will invest INR 75,000 crore, or approximately $10 billion, into India over the next five-seven years. We’ll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure, and ecosystem investments. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” said Pichai.
“As we make these investments, we look forward to working alongside Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government, as well as Indian businesses of all sizes to realize our shared vision for a Digital India.”
This programme was also setup in line with a campaign launched in 2015 by the country’s Government known as “Digital India”, initially to ensure public services were accessible to its citizens online. The campaign further calls for innovations to improve the country’s online infrastructure and increase internet connectivity, which include providing services for people in remote or rural areas.
Following this announcement, Google has made a move to acquire a 7.7 percent stake in India’s biggest telecommunications company Jio Platforms Ltd for $4.5 billion (INR 33,737 crore). Both companies have entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone with optimizations to the Android operating system and the Play Store. Although, it is not clear if this investment is part of the $10 billion fund.
In April, Facebook also acquired a 9.99 percent equity stake in Jio Platforms through a $5.7 billion deal which allows the social media and advertising company to expand its footprints in India, representing one of the largest investments for a minority stake in a tech firm globally.