Google joins rush into India with plan to invest $10bn
GOOGLE is investing $10bn (£7.9bn) in India over the next five to seven years in the latest example of Silicon Valley’s tech titans moving into the world’s biggest untapped digital market.
Speaking at the annual Google for India event, boss Sundar Pichai said India’s digital journey was “far from complete”. Mr Pichai, who was born and educated in the country, said there was “still more work to do in order to make the internet affordable and useful for a billion Indians”.
His firm pledged to set up a Google for India Digitisation Fund, through which it will allocate $10bn in equity investments, partnerships and operational investments in the country. Part of this would go towards helping get more Indian people affordable access to the internet, and provide them with information in their own languages, Mr Pichai said.
Google will also spend cash on developing new products and services specifically for the Indian market.
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, wrote on Twitter that he had had an “extremely fruitful” meeting with Mr Pichai where the pair discussed “leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India’s farmers, youngsters and entrepreneurs”.
News of the latest investment comes in the wake of similar efforts by other tech giants in India. Earlier this year, Amazon said it would be pouring $1bn into India, while Facebook struck a $5.7bn deal with Indian telecoms firm Reliance Jio in April.
India has a population of around 1.37bn people and it is set to exceed China as the world’s most populous country by 2027. However, hundreds of millions of its citizens still do not own a smartphone, making it hugely appealing to tech giants that are reaching saturation in Western nations.
Sundar Pichai, the Google boss, has pledged to improve affordable internet access in India