Reliance AGM: Google invests Rs. 33,737cr; Jio Glass; 5G plans
Google will be investing Rs. 33,737 crore ($4.5 billion) in Reliance Industries' telecom-to-digital entity Jio Platforms. The announcement came directly from Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman and MD of Reliance, during the 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the conglomerate. It builds on a series of deals struck by the company over the last four months. Here's more about it.
Google taking 7.7% stake
As part of the latest fund-raise, Ambani said, Google will infuse Rs. 33,737 crore for a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms. This makes the internet giant the 13th major investor of the company and takes the total capital it has raised in the last few months well over Rs. 1,52,055 crore. In all, Jio has sold 32.94% of its stake.
Plan to build OS for affordable smartphones
The partnership between Jio and Google will be geared towards building an Android-based OS that could power affordable smartphones and enable access to 4G and 5G connectivity to every Indian. This is the biggest chunk of the $10 billion investment Google had announced for India.
Jio's made-in-India 5G solution
Along with Google's investment, Jio has also announced its own made-in-India 5G solution. "Jio has developed a complete 5G solution from scratch that will enable us to launch a world-class 5G service in India," the Reliance Chairman said, adding that the technology would go into testing soon and become ready for deployment by next year. Notably, it will also be sold to other nations.
5G connectivity to create compelling solutions across multiple verticals
With ultra-fast 5G, Ambani noted, people will be able to create compelling solutions across industry verticals like media, financial services, new commerce, education, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, smart manufacturing and smart mobility. Beyond this and 4G, Jio has also built world-class capabilities in Cloud computing, Devices and OS, Big Data, AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Natural Language Understanding and Computer Vision, he added.
JioTV Plus to aggregate content from leading OTT platforms
Speaking about Jio Fiber, Akash Ambani said that the TV set-top box (bundled with it) will come with JioTV Plus, a service that will aggregate content from several OTT platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Voot, SonyLIV, ZEE5, and YouTube. Beyond this, app developers will be able to create, submit, and monetize apps covering a range of categories for the platform.
Jio Glass, mixed reality product, announced
During the AGM, the Ambanis also showcased Jio's next revolutionary product - the Jio Glass. The device, as explained by RIL President Kiran Thomas, will enable holographic video calling. It weighs just 75 grams and will ultimately make people, including teachers and students, come together in 3D virtual rooms and conduct holographic sessions.
What else Ambani shared during the AGM?
Among other announcements, Ambani shared Reliance Retail has become India's largest and most profitable retail business, with revenues of Rs. 1,62,936 crore and EBITDA of Rs. 9,654 crore. Plus, for Reliance's oil-to-chemical business, he reiterated the company's commitment to the $15bn partnership with Saudi Aramco and emphasized that they will be converting CO2 emissions into high-value products and become net carbon-neutral by 2035.
Oil-to-chemical business to be spun off into a new entity
Ambani also claimed that Reliance will look to spin off its oil-to-chemical business into a separate subsidiary to make way for new partnerships. It will appeal to the National Company Law Tribunal regarding the matter.
Finally, there will be mega COVID-19 testing
To fight the ongoing pandemic, Reliance Foundation will be conducting mega-scale COVID-19 testing across India in partnership with several state governments. Additionally, Nita Ambani, the Chairperson and Founder of the Foundation, noted that as soon as a vaccine is available they will use Jio's digital infrastructure and Reliance's supply chain to ensure it reaches every corner of the country.