- By leveraging the WhatsApp platform and user base, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and Facebook are exploring the possibility of developing a multipurpose app.
By leveraging the WhatsApp platform and user base, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and Facebook are exploring the possibility of developing a multipurpose app, similar to Chinese super-app WeChat, said four people familiar with the topic. The two will put in project support, technological know-how, and domain experience, they said.
As per the ongoing talks, which have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept is to create an app that is not only a communication channel but one where users will also be able to purchase groceries through Reliance Retail stores, or shop at ajio.com, or make payments using JioMoney.
The aim is to build a super-app on WeChat’s lines that incorporate digital payments, social media, gaming, flight and hotel reservations, among other apps. Such an app will bring a twofold advantage to RILNSE 1.58 percent—providing B2C interaction for its customer companies, and providing the company with insights into the buying patterns of consumers.
“Talks are being compartmentalized. Therefore, anyone working on the business side wouldn’t know what’s going on at the deal’s technology or financial aspects, “a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. “It would be a defining relationship and it is not just a financial investment.
“A new company could be established — where both players could invest, or Facebook could invest in Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail, and that’s how the relationship for the new venture could be developed,” another person who is part of a team working on the deal said.
He added that both the firms recruited top US-based consultants and lawyers to discuss all facets — from legal concerns to taxation.
The Financial Times announced on March 24 that Facebook is monitoring Reliance Jio’s multibillion-dollar stake. The report said Facebook could collect 10 percent for “billions of dollars” in Reliance Jio.
“There would be a partnership, but it’s not clear how the businesses would come together, as a lot will rely on market success and the technological know-how both parties will put in,” a third person said.
People close to the creation have suggested that because of the COVID-19 pandemic the agreement could take longer. “Right now, Reliance Retail’s goal is to keep the stores open so that customers can get products. Also, travel restrictions are currently in place which creates problems,” he said.