Investments

Saudi Oil Money To Help Power India's Digital Revolution

Jio

Jio Platforms has reeled in another big investor, with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund agreeing to pump $1.5 billion into India’s largest mobile commerce company.

With the deal, the Saudi kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, or PIF, will control a 2.32 percent stake in Jio’s parent company, Reliance Industries, the company said in a press release.

The deal is just the latest investment by a foreign player in the Indian powerhouse, which, as of late May, had attracted $10.4 billion in capital in exchange for a 17 percent stake in Jio and Reliance, PYMNTS has reported.

“We at Reliance have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for many decades. From Oil Economy, this relationship is now moving to strengthen India’s New Oil (Data-driven) Economy, as is evident from PIF’s investment into Jio Platforms,” Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire owner and chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, said in a press release. “I welcome PIF as a valued partner in Jio Platforms … as we take ambitious steps to accelerate India’s digital transformation for enriching and empowering the lives of 1.3 billion Indians.”

Among the biggest investors to date in Jio and Reliance are Facebook, which plunked down $5.7 billion for 10 percent of the company, and Vista Equity, which put in $1.5 billion.

With 388 million subscribers in India, Jio has a massive business base from which to operate — and cross-sell digital services within — accounting for 35 percent of the Indian market.

Other investors include General Atlantic, which invested $870 million and Silver Lake, which has pumped $750 million into the company.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of PIF, said the Saudi sovereign wealth fund sees its investment in Jio as a way to tap into India’s fast-growing digital economy.

“We are delighted to be investing in an innovative business which is at the forefront of the transformation of the technology sector in India,” said Al-Rumayyan, in the press release. “We believe that the potential of the Indian digital economy is very exciting and that Jio Platforms provides us with an excellent opportunity to gain access to that growth.”

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The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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