The FB-Jio deal

Buzz of the week: Will FB–Jio deal create magic?

by | Apr 26, 2020 | Buzz of the week, Deal, Industry News, UC & C

The deal ignites an already hot payments arena and also the attractiveness of India’s telecom sector too.
Share to lead the transformation

The recent announcement made by Facebook to invest ₹43,574 crore for a 9.9% stake in Reliance Industries Ltd.’s Jio Platforms has created enormous interest in the Indian market (see details of the FB-Jio in this RIL release).

The coming together of Reliance Jio, with nearly 400 million telecom subscribers; and Facebook, with about 300 million Indian users, is a significant market development by all measures. It has the potential of giving restless nights to their rivals. At the same time, it could raise the interest of Facebook’s rival digital behemoths such as Google in RJio’s rival telcos such as Airtel. Consequently, the attractiveness of India’s telecom sector may be expected to go up in terms of valuation, global partnerships and capital raising.

No wonder, while Reliance Industries’ shares jumped 10% on the deal, Airtel’s shares too rose by a notional 1%. As part of the agreement, WhatsApp is expected to strengthen Jio’s new retail business on the JioMart platform while Jio Platforms will support small businesses on WhatsApp.

Though onlookers see the FB-Jio deal largely disrupting India’s retail sector, it is also expected to revolutionize many future ideas. After all, a key challenge that India has been facing to take its digitization efforts to the next level has been the absence of a cohesive ecosystem, which the partnership could help address.

The path, however, is not without some tough challenges.

Today, the industry offers several fragmented channels to telecom and digital users—from payment services to collaboration tools and entertainment. Both small businesses and consumers have multiple choices to opt from. While this is great for users, not many people like the idea of using multiple mobile apps for different purposes. There was a brief period when, after demonetization, Paytm was emerging as the de facto player, but that is no longer the case. Today, it faces strong market competition from giants such as Amazon and Google, as well as from homegrown players such as PhonePe.

Facebook, thanks to its incredibly popular WhatsApp messaging services, is sitting uniquely in the world’s fastest growing marketplace. And by collaborating with Reliance Jio, country’s largest telecom player, they together have the potential of creating a one-stop digital shop that India has long been waiting for.

It is worth noting that while Reliance Jio already has a license for its JioMoney payments platform, WhatsApp is yet to receive a license for rolling out a payment service for all its users in India (it has got the clearance to do a phased rollout, while the final approval remains subject to meeting compliance all requirements set by the government).

With the FB-Jio deal in place, the duo could leverage each other’s capabilities for mutual benefits and compete with existing payment providers in a major way

Besides retail and payment services, if executed precisely, this alliance could also pave the way for Jio to offer exclusive services such as virtual education, premium mobile conferencing, food delivery, digital entertainment among others instantly using WhatsApp.

It is significant that just two days after the deal, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced new collaboration and conferencing features and capabilities for WhatsApp.

WhatsApp, being the favored mode of communication for a majority of smartphone users in India, indeed has the potential to drive Jio’s ambitions of becoming the largest mobile digital player in the world. More so, with most of the population expected to stay indoors even after the lockdown is gradually phased out, the market will need innovations and digital products that can meet consumer need at their convenience. It is not mere coincidence that the FB-Jio deal has come through when the world is still adjusting to the social distancing conditions triggered by Covid-19.

On a concerning note, this deal also proposes a risk of monopoly, and may invite scrutiny from authorities such as Competition Commission of India.


Gadkari takes charge of transport ministry

Gadkari takes charge of transport ministry

Nitin Gadkari took charge of the office of the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways in New Delhi today. He also holds the portfolio of the Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Gadkari was Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in the previous government.

Gadkari is a member of Lok Sabha since May, 2014. He was earlier a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council during 1989-2014. He was Minister for PWD in Maharashtra Government during 1995 to 1999.

Climate Change: Javadekar takes charge

Climate Change: Javadekar takes charge

Prakash Javadekar today assumed charge as the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change here today. He was greeted at the office at Paryavaran Bhawan by Environment Secretary Shri C K Mishra and other senior officials of the ministry. Babul Supriyo also assumed charge as Minister of State.

Briefing the media after assuming the charge, the Union Minister said it is like a home coming for him as he already served in the ministry for two years in the first term of NDA government. He stressed that we will strongly reinforce that this ministry is seen as a facilitator and not merely as a regulator. “Economic growth and environment protection should go simultaneously, and we need to work with an increased impetus towards that”, said Javadekar.

After assuming the charge, the Minister also held a meeting with the senior officers of the Ministry where he was briefed on the key initiatives and policy issues of the Ministry.

Infosys Foundation Opens Aarohan Awards 2019

Infosys Foundation Opens Aarohan Awards 2019


The awards would recognize solutions that could positively impact the underprivileged in India. (Representative image)

Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic and CSR arm of Infosys, has announced the launch of the second edition of the Aarohan Social Innovation Awards. The award is aimed at accelerating innovation in the social sector. The Aarohan Social Innovation Awards 2019 seek to recognize and reward individuals, teams or NGOs developing unique solutions that have the potential to positively impact the underprivileged in India, at scale.

Speaking at the launch of the second edition of the awards, Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murty said, “The Aarohan Social Innovation Awards 2018 was a huge success. Infosys Foundation witnessed a very good response from social innovators across the country and eventually, 12 leading innovators were recognised and awarded. The overwhelming response we got last year, has reaffirmed my belief that there are innumerable innovators across India who are looking up to this platform to give wings to their passion by scaling their innovation and impacting millions of lives. With the second edition of the awards, we hope to discover these hidden social innovators across the country and help them scale the power of their social innovations”

The awards will accept submissions across six categories, namely, Healthcare, Rural Development, Destitute Care, Women’s Safety & Empowerment, Education & Sports, and Sustainability.

The submission process for the second edition of these awards commences on July 15, 2019 and will continue till September 30, 2019. Participants can submit entries describing their work in the form of videos that can be uploaded on the Aarohan Social Innovation Awards website. The entries must be of a fully functioning prototype, not just a concept, idea or mock up. Additionally, the project must not be an established commercial venture.

Aarohan Social Innovation Awards will also offer winners an opportunity for residential technical mentorship at the IIT Hyderabad campus for up to 12 weeks to help them further develop and scale their solutions.

A panel of distinguished judges will evaluate and select the winners whose submissions will be assessed on five broad criteria – application to a social problem or need, innovative use of technology, originality of ideas, ease of use and the quality of presentation. The jury will comprise Prof. Trilochan Sastry, former Dean, IIM Bangalore; Padma Shree Arvind Gupta, an Indian toy inventor and science expert; Prof. Anil Gupta, visiting faculty member, IIM Ahmedabad, a globally renowned scholar of grassroots innovations and founder of the Honey Bee Network; Prof. GVV Sharma, Faculty member of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Coordinator, Teaching Learning Centre, IIT Hyderabad; Sumit Virmani, Senior Vice President and Global Head – Marketing, Infosys, and Infosys Foundation Chairperson, renowned author and philanthropist Sudha Murty.


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