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Google has its eyes set on India

  • Its $10 billion India Digitization Fund highlights the Indian market’s vast potential. It will also heighten competition online and that’s good news for us

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google, has announced that the company will invest 75,000 crore, or about $10 billion, in India over the next 5-7 years. For this purpose, a Google for India Digitization Fund is being set up, and the money will be pumped in through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments, Pichai said on Monday at a Google for India event.

The government, which has aggressively wooed foreign investment in recent times, should be pleased by the very size of the commitment. For Google, this is an effort to tap a huge opportunity in a country whose mass market has only just begun to go online. Pichai listed four purposes for which the investments will be used: enabling affordable information access to every Indian in their own language; building new products and services for India; serving businesses in digital transformation; and using technology and artificial intelligence in areas of social interest like health, education and agriculture.

India has been the global flavour of the year ever since Facebook famously bought nearly a tenth of Reliance’s telecom and internet business, Jio Platforms, for $5.7 billion this April. Several other investors bought smaller slices of Jio after that. Such has been the attention on this business that analysts began to wonder if other online ventures would survive against it. Internet ventures tend to achieve monopoly power by their very nature, after all. With other big American companies moving in with big bucks, we can probably hope for a reasonable level of competition. This, of course, would be good for everyone.

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