- Google said on Monday it aims to invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years as the search engine is looking to further grow its footprint on the main overseas market.
Google said on Monday it aims to invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years as the search engine is looking to further grow its footprint on the main overseas market.
Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai today unveiled Google for India Digitization Fund through which the company will make the country ‘s investments.
“We would do so through a combination of investments in equities, alliances, and investments in activities, infrastructure, and ecosystems. This is a reflection of our faith in India ‘s future and its digital economy, “he said to India at the company’s annual event.
Investments will focus on four areas:
- First, enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their language, whether it’s Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi or any other
- Second, building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs
- Third, empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation
- Fourth, leveraging technology and AI for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture
India is Google’s main overseas market, where a number of its products and services like Search, YouTube, and Android have made inroads with a large part of the entire online public.
More than 500 million users are online today in India, the second-most populated nation in the world with 1.3 billion inhabitants, and more than 450 million smartphones are in active use in India.
“There is still more work to be done to make the internet accessible and usable to a billion Indians … from developing voice input and computing for all the languages of India, to encouraging and helping a whole new generation of entrepreneurs,” Pichai said.
Unlike every other American tech giant, Google makes just a portion of its income from the world’s largest internet sector, however. Yet this does not seem to be a priority for any American or Chinese tech giant in India who are currently looking in emerging markets for their next hundreds of millions of users.
In April this year, Facebook, which rivals Google and Amazon in India, made a $5.7 billion investment in Reliance Jio Platforms, the nation’s largest telecom operator to digitize 60 million mom and pop stores across the country.
Google’s announcement today also comes at a time when it seems that India is closing its door for Chinese firms. Last month New Delhi blocked 59 apps and services produced by Chinese firms. Of those blocked is the TikTok by ByteDance, the UC Browser by Alibaba Group, and the WeChat by Tencent. Some industry players think this ban will help American tech giants spread their reach further into India as they face less competition.
India also amended its foreign direct investment policy in April this year to allow all neighboring nations with which it shares a boundary to obtain New Delhi approval for their potential dealings in the country. To hundreds of startups in India that count Chinese investors as some of their biggest supporters, including unicorns Zomato, Swiggy, and Paytm, New Delhi ‘s decision is likely to trigger additional difficulties in raising potential money.
Google has so far backed a handful of startups in India, including hyperlocal delivery service Dunzo headquartered in Bangalore. The Financial Times reported in May that Google was in talks with Vodafone Idea, India’s second-largest telecom operator.
“This mission is deeply personal to me. Growing up, technology provided a window to a world outside my own. It also brought us closer together as a family. Every evening we were drawn to the television by Doordarshan’s special rendition of “Sare Jahan Se Accha.” I tried to explain this to my colleagues the other day, but I eventually gave up and just showed it to them on YouTube.
When I was young, every new piece of technology brought new opportunities to learn and grow. But I always had to wait for it to arrive from someplace else. Today, people in India no longer have to wait for technology to come to you. A whole new generation of technologies are happening in India first,” said, Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google & Alphabet.
Google’s head in India, Sanjay Gupta, said the company’s recent $10bn pledged to India today forms the future of many of its products and services in India. “We ‘re committed to partnering deeply and helping India to become a fully digital country,” he said.
The firm will also concentrate on “enabling more high-quality low-cost smartphones so that more people can access the internet to learn, expand and thrive,” Google’s Caesar Sengupta, GM & VP of Payments and Next Billion Users said.
You can find the whole announcement here.