Facebook is seeking to buy a multibillion-dollar stake in Reliance Jio

Facebook is seeking to buy a multibillion-dollar stake in Reliance Jio, whose cut-price mobile internet service has attracted 370 million Indians in just three years… Facebook was close to signing a preliminary deal for a 10 per cent share in the heavily indebted Jio… although the timetable of a deal has been affected by the global lockdowns caused by the coronavirus outbreak. If it proceeds, the deal would give Facebook a key foothold in the Indian market, where its WhatsApp chat service has 400 million users and is about to launch a payments service. Since launching Jio in 2016, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance has emerged as the only Indian company capable of competing with US tech groups in the fast-growing Indian market, expanding from mobile telecoms into everything from home broadband to ecommerce. Analysts at Bernstein valued Jio at more than $60 billion… India has emerged as a vital market for Facebook and its WhatsApp messaging platform. The number of internet users in India is expected to rise to about 850 million in 2022, according to consultancy PwC, up from 450 million in 2017. Facebook overall is now estimated to have more users in India than any other single country. 

Anjli Raval, Tim Bradshaw and Benjamin Parkin