With Facebook deal, India’s richest man is already preparing for a post Covid-19 world

Million dollar man.
Million dollar man.
Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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As the world stares into an economic abyss, India’s richest man is already looking at a hugely profitable post-coronavirus business scenario.

Reliance Jio’s 9.99% stake sale to Facebook for Rs43,574 crore ($5.7 billion) will play a critical role in India’s return to normalcy post coronavirus, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) said in a statement today (April 22) announcing the deal.

“In the post-Corona era, I am confident of India’s economic recovery and resurgence in the shortest period of time. The partnership will surely make an important contribution to this transformation,” Ambani said in the statement.

The outbreak has already brought to fore the importance of digital platforms. The daily average internet consumption in India has increased by 13% since the country was put under lockdown on March 25. Notably,  in 2018, India had over 480 million internet users across the country and this figure was projected to grow to over 660 million users by 2023, according to market intelligence firm Statista.

As Indians practice social distancing, there has been an increased dependence on mobile apps for shopping, payments, and even human interactions. Digital technologies have also helped in ensuring business continuity as millions of professionals started work from home amid the pandemic.

RIL hopes its partnership with Facebook will accelerate the trend. “Our focus will be India’s 60 million micro, small, and medium businesses, 120 million farmers, 30 million small merchants, and millions of small and medium enterprises in the informal sector, in addition to empowering people seeking various digital services,” the statement said.