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Google bets big on Digital India, plans $10 Bn Investment

For the first time in six years, the annual ‘Google for India’ event was held as a virtual event. This was, of course, due to Covid 19 pandemic. Expectedly, several big news came out of the grand event but the one news that is likely to dominate the headlines is the fact that Google is planning to invest $10 Bn or INR 70,000 crore in next 5-7 years in India.

The technology giant will be making these investments through equity investments, partnership, operational infra and ecosystem investment, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said at the event.

With Google’s investment mainly catered at accelerating the growth of Digital India movement, it will focus on the following four key areas.

  1. Enabling Indians to access information in their own native languages in an affordable way.
  2. Creating new products and services that are specific to India’s needs.
  3. Making local businesses strong and thereby speed-up the digital transformation of India.
  4. Making the use of cutting edge technologies like AI for the social cause.

India’s telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was also present at the event. Notably, Google’s Indian born CEO also had a discussion with the Indian Prime Minister this morning.

PM Narendra Modi tweeted about this brief discussion on his official Twitter handle.

It is but certain that, at least, a part of Google’s 10 Bn investment will find its way in India’s bustling startup industry. Over the years, Google has invested in quite a few Indian startups. Hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo and e-commerce platform Fynd are among its prominent investment in India’s startup industry.

Google also runs an accelerator program for Indian startups called ‘Launchpad accelerator India,’ which is currently in its fourth edition. Every year this Google-backed accelerator program selects some of the promising startups and helps them accelerate to the next level by offering them the required infrastructure and support.

Facebook, another prominent American tech giant, is also emerging as an active investor in the Indian startup industry; investing in Indian startups like Unacademy and  Meesho. It also recently procured a minority stake in India’s telecom major Reliance Jio.

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