Home >News >India >Mukesh Ambani tops Jack Ma as Asia’s richest person

Facebook’s $5.7 billion investment in Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Platforms has made him Asia’s richest person yet again.

Facebook is investing 43,574 crore for a 9.99% stake on a fully diluted basis in Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). This will be the social media giant’s biggest deal since 2014 when it acquired WhatsApp.

Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint
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Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint

The deal sent RIL’s stock surging. The stock gained about 10% in Wednesday’s trade.

“The US company will buy about 10% of Jio Platforms, which brings together digital apps and a wireless platform under one umbrella, " RIL said.

Ambani’s fortune rose about $4 billion to $49 billion on Wednesday, as he raced ahead of China’s Jack Ma by about $3 billion at 11.20am London time, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The ranking officially updates after the close of each trading day in the US.

The wealth of the world’s largest oil refinery owner, Ambani, had declined by $14 billion on the Bloomberg ranking on Tuesday, the biggest fall in dollar terms for anyone in Asia. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Ma had lost almost $1 billion through Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

Jio was launched in September 2016 and, in a little more than three years, became India’s largest mobile services company by subscriber base. It is the only Indian telco that has its entire network built on 4G VoLTE, or voice over long-term evolution, technology. All others have a blend of 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.

“At the core of our partnership is the commitment that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and I share for the all-around digital transformation of India," Ambani said in a web video posted on Jio’s Facebook page. “WhatsApp in particular, has entered our people’s daily vocabulary in all the 23 official languages of India," he said.

The partnership with Jio will allow Zuckerberg to step up his expansion in a country that is rapidly embracing online payment and e-commerce as more people use smartphones especially as Jio Infocomm quickly moved into a position of dominance by offering free plans and undercutting wireless market rivals.

Bloomberg contributed to this story.

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