Google announced plans to invest INR750 billion ($10 billion) to aid India’s digital transformation, following a long line of US companies pouring cash into initiatives focused on the country.
During a Google for India event, CEO Sundar Pichai said the money will fuel a combination of equity investments; partnerships; and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments over the next five to seven years.
Focus areas will include enabling affordable access and providing information in citizens’ native language; creating new products and services to address the country’s unique needs; helping businesses with digital transformation efforts; and using technology and AI to improve healthcare, education and agriculture.
Pichai said India had made “huge progress in getting a billion” citizens online in recent years, through a combination of low-cost smartphones, affordable data plans and high-quality telecom infrastructure, but argued “there’s still more work to do”.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s minister of Communications, Electronics and IT, highlighted opportunities to improve the country’s app ecosystem, rural connectivity and digital skills among workers.
He encouraged Google to create model “digital villages” across India to demonstrate the power of digital skills, telemedicine and remote learning.
The move follows substantial investments from US companies including Qualcomm, Intel, Facebook and private equity groups in Reliance Industries’ digital unit Jio Platforms.
In May, Google was reported to be considering a stake in Indian operator Vodafone Idea.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back