Google commits $10 billion to accelerate Indian digital economy

Google CEO

Google has said it would spend around $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years through equity investments and tie-ups, marking its biggest commitment to a key growth market.

KEY POINTS:

  • Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai says its Google business unit will invest around $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years
  • The move is the tech giants largest commitment to India
  • Many of the investments will be done through a so-called digitisation fund

The investments will be done through a so-called digitisation fund, highlighting Google’s focus on the rapid pace of growth of apps and software platforms in India, one of the world’s biggest internet services markets.

“We’ll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments,” Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet Inc, said on a webcast during an annual “Google for India” event.

“This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy.”

The new $10 billion investment was the largest Google had done in India, Pichai said.

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“We’re particularly focused on making sure the internet expands beyond English and other vernacular languages. That’s an important angle we’ve looked at,” he told reporters at the news agency Reuters in an interview.

Google wants to bolster the growth of internet in India, which currently has over 500 million active users, and help get another 500 million people online, Mr Pichai said.

Beyond investments via the fund, Google, would also focus on areas like artificial intelligence and education in India, he added.

Google has already made some direct and indirect investments in Indian start-ups such as local delivery app Dunzo.

Indian-born Pichai joined Google in 2004, and is widely credited for making the Chrome browser. He replaced company co-founder Larry Page as Chief Executive of parent Alphabet Inc last year.

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The US tech giant, whose Android mobile operating system powers a bulk of India’s roughly 500 million smartphones, will continue to work with manufacturers to build low-cost devices so that more and more people can access the internet, another Google executive said.

Initial reporting via our content partner at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra. Additional reporting by Sachin Ravikumar. Editing by Jane Merriman and Emelia Sithole-Matarise.

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