Reliance is “humbled by the opportunity to welcome Facebook as our long-term partner in continuing to grow and transform the digital ecosystem of India,” Ambani said in a statement.
Facebook’s chief revenue officer David Fischer and vice president and managing director for India Ajit Mohan wrote in a blog post that the investment “underscores our commitment to India, and our excitement for the dramatic transformation that Jio has spurred in the country.”
And by bringing together JioMart, the company’s small business initiative, and WhatsApp, “we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience,” Fischer and Mohan wrote.
India is a key market for internet companies.
And there is plenty of room to grow — close to 600 million people in the country have yet to gain internet access.
The investment in Jio is one of the biggest investments Facebook can make, according to Bernstein.
“The transaction fits with their recent push to build themselves and experiment more and provides a closed network of 388 million users … to build and test a WeChat like app,” Bernstein analysts said in a note Wednesday, referring to China’s popular messaging app that is used for everything from booking doctor’s appointments to making digital payments.
The Facebook investment values Jio Platforms at nearly $66 billion, according to Reliance. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.
— Rishi Iyengar contributed to this report.