Google announces $10 billion investment in digital India

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Google has announced that it will invest $10 billion in India through the Google for India Digitization Fund.

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and its parent company, Alphabet, shared the news during the company's annual Google For India event, which took place virtually on Monday amid the pandemic.

The Google for India Digitization Fund aims to help accelerate India's digital economy, a mission which Sundar described deeply personal to him. In this initiative, Google will seek to invest in the following four areas:

  • Enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, whether it's Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi, etc
  • Building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India's unique needs
  • Empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation
  • Leveraging technology and artificial intelligence for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture

In particular, the mission will see the investment of ₹75,000 crore (approximately $10 billion) into India over the course of the next 5-7 years. This will occur through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational infrastructure and ecosystem investments.

Digitisation has indeed gained considerable traction in India over the years. As Sundar recounted, as little as four years ago, only one-third of small businesses in India had an online presence. However, today, 26 million SMBs are now discoverable online and are driving connections with more than 150 million users every month.

Despite the progress, Sundar recgonises that “[t]here's still more work to do in order to make the internet affordable and useful for a billion Indians.” Thus, Google will be taking a proactive approach to making this a reality for the country, driven by its confidence in the future of India and its digital economy. Its belief is that the investment will also inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.

To deliver on the initiative, Google will work alongside Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government. Furthermore, Google will aim to engage with Indian businesses of all sizes to realise their “shared vision for a Digital India.”

Sundar summarised that “[o]ur goal is to ensure India not only benefits from the next wave of innovation, but leads it. Working together we can ensure that our best days are still ahead.”