Google announces $10bn investment in 'digital India'

BBC Technology 13 Jul 2020 12:05
Sundar PichaiImage copyright AFP

Google will invest $10bn (£7.93bn) in India in the next five to seven years, the chief executive of its parent company Alphabet Inc has announced.

Sundar Pichai spoke at the annual Google for India event, held online.

The investment will be used to build products and services for India, help businesses go digital and use technology "for social good".

"This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy," Mr Pichai said.

With more than 500 million active internet users in the country, India is perhaps the biggest potential growth market for Google.

The investment will be made through the Google for India Digitisation Fund

Mr Pichai said the fund would focus on four areas to scale up digital infrastructure in India. It would:

  • enable "affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language"
  • empower local businesses who want to go digital

Mr Pichai also touted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India project which aims to overhaul the country's digital infrastructure.

Nikhil Inamdar, BBC news Mumbai

Growing internet use across smaller towns and villages has also led to a boom in regional language internet use which, according to one estimate, now commands a 66% share in overall content consumption in India, far surpassing English.

"I expect digital adoption in sectors like education will be two to three times faster because of this investment," telecoms analyst Minakshi Ghosh told the BBC.

"Google can scale its presence and fill the void created by some of them, especially in browser space, communication tools and utility apps," says Tarun Pathak, associate director with Counterpoint Technology Market Research. "The ban has created uncertainty in the market, which is an opportunity for Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook."

This is not the first time Google has made large investments in India.

In his blog, the Indian-born Mr Pichai wrote that this mission was "deeply personal".

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Mr PichaiIndiaGoogleAlphabet IncSundar Pichai
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