Technology Company, “Google” has said it plans to invest 10 billion dollars in India in the coming years, as reports revealed that the country is most favourable destination amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This was made known in a report made available to the African Informants by the Indian High Commission on Friday in Abuja.
According to the report, Google will be investing the 10 billion dollars in infrastructure and equity investments, as Silicon Valley companies jostle for a position in one of the world’s fastest-growing internet markets.
It said that Sundar Pichai, the Chief Executive at Google and its parent company, Alphabet, announced the scheme after speaking with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It noted that Modi described the conversation with the technology giant as “extremely fruitful”, discussing new working practices during the Coronavirus pandemic as well as security and safety online.
Pichai at an online event said: “This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy.”
The promise from Google which did not include specific details to apply to the next “five to seven years”, marks the latest attempt by a big U.S. internet company to woo the leadership of a country,” the report states.
According to the report, the increased interest in India from Google and other U.S, – based investors come as tension on the Indian-Chinese border closes avenues for investors from China.
“Chinese internet giants such as Tencent and Alibaba, along with Chinese venture capital companies, have become among the largest investors in Indian tech.
“But India in April changed its foreign investment rules to require government approval for all would-be Chinese investors.
“A sharp escalation in tensions following a deadly clash on the Himalayan border in June prompted the authorities to ban 59 Chinese apps, including ByteDance-owned TikTok.
“Access to India, now the world’s second-largest mobile market, is particularly important for Google as it is shut out of China.
“It faces the prospect of greater difficulty in operating in Hong Kong following the passage of the new security law there in June.
“India, with its 1.3 billion population, represents one of the biggest opportunities for tech companies globally after hundreds of millions of Indians started using smartphones and accessing the internet in recent years.
“Google Pay, the company’s digital payments service, has grown rapidly since inauguration in the country in 2017,” the report said.
According to the report, Google described its vague spending promise as an India Digitisation Fund, and say it will cover affordable internet access and new product development.
It said the investment would also be tailored to Indian market needs and accelerating digital transformation, as well as healthcare, education and agriculture.
The report noted that India had insisted that government surveillance took precedence over the kind of encryption that was becoming standard in U.S. internet services, and had sought to limit the local power of the Big Tech oligopoly.
“Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s Chief Executive, travelled to the country earlier this year to promise one billion dollars in investment, and to support 10 billion dollars Indian export sales over the next five years, as his company faces a local antitrust investigation.
“Google’s pledge also comes three months after rival Facebook invested 5.7 billion dollars in Jio Platforms, the fast-growing Indian telecoms company that has launched a series of digital services.
“Jio, part of Mukesh Ambani’s oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries, has also sold stakes to 11 other foreign investors including the investment arms of U.S. chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm.
“As well as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, KKR and Silver Lake.
“Google has also explored investments with Jio and rival telecoms operator Vodafone Idea in recent months. Apple has also stepped up its iPhone manufacturing in the country through its supplier Foxconn.”
According to the report, Google is rising to the occasion by trying to invest a fairly substantial amount in India’s digital transformation.
Mr Ravi Prasad, India’s Minister of Electronics and Information Technology expressed the appreciation of their country to Goggle, saying, “I am very happy that Google is recognising India’s digital innovation and the need to create further opportunity.”