On Facebook earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg opens up about his deal with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio

On Facebook earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg opens up about his deal with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio
FILE - In this May 1, 2018, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote speech at F8, Facebook's developer conference, in San Jose, Calif. AP/PTI(
  • Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg opened up about his $5.7 billion investment in Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio.
  • Zuckerberg has reaffirmed his interest in India – the largest user base for Facebook and WhatsApp.
  • The Facebook-Jio partnership will also become the testing ground for innovation for WhatsApp.
Social media giant Facebook announced its first quarter earnings to report a revenue of $17.74 billion on Thursday. During the call, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg also opened up about his $5.7 billion investment into Reliance Jio led by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.

The largest tech deal in India stoked interest along with rumours that Zuckerberg and Ambani will come together to build a super app. And now, Zuckerberg reaffirmed his interest in India – the largest user base for Facebook and WhatsApp.

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“By bringing together JioMart, which is Jio's small business initiative to connect millions of shops across India with WhatsApp, we think that we're going to be able to create a much better shopping and commerce experience. And there's a lot more that we can do here, and I'm looking forward to making progress with the team at Jio,” he said during the call.

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The country with the largest WhatsApp community

With the investment in Jio, Zuckerberg is reinstating his faith in e-commerce. He said that on WhatsApp, they have started rolling out things like catalogs and working on payments through which complete transactions can take place. He also spoke about WhatsApp’s click to messaging ads for businesses.

And a lot of it could possibly begin with the Jio partnership in India. “From what they have described to us, JioMart’s vision is that there are millions of small businesses and shops across India and they want to try to help get them on to a single network that you'll be able to communicate with through WhatsApp and do payments online through WhatsApp. So I think of that as a great, very large example of how we can wire up and help small businesses in the country where we have the largest WhatsApp community,” said Zuckerberg.

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The Facebook-Jio partnership will also become the testing ground for innovation for WhatsApp. Zuckerberg confirmed that all the products and technology that they're building to enable the Jio partnership are going to be things that they want to do around the world.

‘The need to build digital storefronts’

Interestingly Zuckerberg also spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many businesses shutting down their physical storefronts and this brings about the need to build digital storefronts. And this is exactly what the Reliance acquired startup Nowfloats promises to do.

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In December 2019, RIL invested $20 million for a majority stake in Nowfloats – a startup that helps businesses and individuals, who don’t have any web developing skills, build an online presence.

Jasminder Singh Gulati, co-founder of NowFloats, tweeted about the coincidental chronology of events after Zuckerberg spoke about digital storefronts. “Our app NowFloats Boost, builds storefronts using chat, in a minute or so, with just about 5 interactive messages (it was via 4 SMS when we started in 2013). Jio acquired a majority stake in NowFloats last year,” he wrote.

See Also:
Vijay Shekhar Sharma is much closer to a super app than Mukesh Ambani or Mark Zuckerberg
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To be India’s Alibaba, Mukesh Ambani wants a super app with Facebook⁠— but an all-in-one app is not known to work so far
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