Intel has announced that it will be investing $253.5 million in India’s Jio Platforms. The company joins a roster of high-profile investors including Facebook, General Atlantic, and Silver Lake that have backed India’s top telecom operator in recent months.
Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital President, in a statement, “Jio Platforms’ focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel’s purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives. We believe digital access and data can transform business and society for the better.”
Ambani, who is India’s richest man, said on Friday that he was excited to “work together with Intel to advance India’s capabilities in cutting-edge technologies that will empower all sectors of our economy and improve the quality of life of 1.3 billion Indians.”
The announcement comes weeks after Mukesh Ambani, who controls Reliance Industries suggested that Saudi Arabia’s PIF $1.5 billion investment on June 18 in his digital unit had marked the “end of Jio Platforms’ current phase of induction of financial partners.”
The American chipmaker’s investment arm said it is acquiring a 0.39% stake in Jio Platforms, giving the firm a valuation of $65 billion. Intel Capital is the 12th investor to buy a stake in Jio Platforms, which has raised more than $15.5 billion by selling a 25% stake since April this year.
The new deal further shows the opportunities foreign investors see in Jio, a four-year-old subsidiary of Reliance Industries that has upended the telecommunications market in India with cut-rate voice calls and mobile data tariffs. Jio has about 400 million subscribers. Analysts at Bernstein said last month that they expect Jio Platforms to reach 500 million customers by 2023, and control half of the market by 2025.
Jio Platforms also operates a bevy of digital apps and services, including music streaming service JioSaavn, on-demand live television service JioTV and payments app JioMoney, as well as smartphones and broadband business. This week, Jio Platforms launched JioMeet, a video-conferencing service that offers unlimited calls with “up to 24 hours” time limit on each session.