Despite the recently reported prospect of a Competition Commission of India (CCI) probe into Google Pay, the CCI has approved Google’s 7.73 percent stake in technology company (and subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited), Jio Platforms.
Established in 2019, Jio Platforms owns India’s largest mobile network operator Jio, with nearly 400 million users, along with a number of other Reliance digital businesses.
The stake is said to be worth Rs 33,737 crore (about $4.52 billion). This investment will, say Indian press reports, be the starting point for the partners to jointly develop entry-level Android smartphones.
The CCI is, however, said to be planning an investigation into complaints filed earlier this year related to exclusive use of Google Pay for buying apps and in-app purchases via the Play Store, along with the pre-installation and prominence of Google Pay on Android smartphones.
The smartphone reference is significant given Google’s position in the market. Google isn’t just a dominant player in the Indian market in search, video, maps and email. Statistics offered by Indian media suggest that nine out of ten smartphones sold in India come with Google’s Android OS. The partnership with Jio Platforms is therefore clearly a significant one.
And it joins a flurry of investments announced by Jio in recent months. A total of 13 investors, including Facebook, Silver Lake, KKR and Mubadala, have taken an equity stake of just under 33 percent in total, with the promise of pumping somewhere in the region of $20.4 billion into the Jio business.