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Facebook has paid $5.7 billion for a 9.9 percent stake in India’s Reliance Jio, the social media giant announced Tuesday.
The mobile telecommunications arm of the conglomerate Reliance Industries, Reliance Jio was established in 2016 and has quickly established itself as a dominant player in India with over 370 million subscribers making it the largest mobile telco in the country and third largest in the world by subscribers.
As well as rapidly spreading social media use in India, Reliance Jio’s cheap payment plans have also led to an explosion of video and music streaming in the country through its products JioSaavn and JioTV.
Facebook’s investment in Reliance Jio also comes as its messaging platform Whatsapp has won regulatory approval in India to offer payment services to compete with Google Pay.
The tech titan said it would focus on collaborating WhatsApp with Reliance’s e-commerce venture JioMart to enable people to connect with small businesses. India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with over 400 million users and reaching nearly 80 percent of smartphone users in the country.
The Facebook investment valued Reliance Jio at almost $66 billion.
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