The continued rise of internet-based messaging apps has seen the old ways of SMS become almost redundant. With the likes of Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and Snapchat, there are a plethora of apps out there that do the job. But, it’s WhatsApp that’s really running away with the majority of users in the western world. Of course, even though Facebook Messenger was, and still is popular, Facebook couldn’t pass up the chance to acquire the messaging giant back in 2014. Since then, it’s gone strength to strength, penetrating countries like India, making it the go-to application for communication.
Due to this Indian foothold, Facebook has doubled down on its worldwide reach, investing around $5.7 billion in Jio Platforms, the tech subsidiary of multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries. This $5.7 billion investment gives Facebook around a 10% stake in the company, making it the largest minority shareholder.
Jio itself delivers a variety of services, including eCommerce platforms, mobile, and broadband bringing “more than 388 million people online,” according to a Facebook blog post. This, therefore, almost seems like the perfect match, broadening an avenue for Facebook to possibly even go into full collaboration with Jio, potentially building Indian based messaging services. Chief revenue officer David Fischer and VP for India Ajit Mohan further this by suggesting that their primary goal is to target small businesses and individuals alike due to WhatsApp being “so ingrained in Indian life that it has become a commonly used verb across many Indian languages and dialects.”, making WhatsApp pretty much essential in everyday life.
With WhatsApp also being utilized as a tool for eCommerce platforms, this too could create significant synergies with existing Jio services. Both Fisher and Mohan agree and see this as a prime opportunity:
“One focus of our collaboration with Jio will be creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy,” “For instance, by bringing together JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.”
This investment could prove extremely fruitful for both parties utilizing each other’s technologies and infrastructure to really grow WhatsApp or even new apps/services and embed them into Indian culture even further.
Do you think this 10% stake in Jio is enough for Facebook to build on its success with WhatsApp in India? Or will it have to put up some extra cash to even get the smallest extra foothold?