Two of the biggest names in the world of business. Two of the biggest names in the world of technology. Two of the biggest names in the world when it comes to innovation. At the first edition of the Facebook Fuel For India 2020 summit, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, had a conversation as only leaders can have. The two business leaders spoke about the importance of digital connectivity as a means to empower the masses, how small businesses get a much-needed push with the correct technology and tools in place, Jio’s partnership with Facebook as well as India’s Digital India mission and the entrepreneurial journey.
Ambani said that Facebook has become the face of a digitally connected India and he called Zuckerberg the true architect of the digital connectivity for the world. This comes at a time when Facebook has, as Zuckerberg stated, some of the largest user bases from India across its apps including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Something that would please the cricket fans in India, Facebook will steam the India tour of Australia test matches on the Facebook Watch platform. Facebook Watch is available on the web as well as on smart TVs and is free to download. This is the first time Facebook is making a big pitch for sports content in India for Facebook Watch, a platform that already has the rights for the Spanish La Liga football league.
Facebook’s focus on small businesses was given a further push when Zuckerberg said that it is important to provide citizens with access to tools, for communication, finance, social commerce and education to name a few. He said millions of small businesses value Facebook’s tools and these businesses will be a key part of the global recovery in the post-COVID era. “At Facebook, we are in the business of serving small businesses. And nowhere is this more true than in India. With more than 60 million small businesses and millions of people around the country relying on them for jobs - these small businesses form a big part of what our partnership with Jio can serve here. This is especially important because small businesses in India will be a key part of the global economic recovery going forward. And we’re focused on making sure we build the best tools for them,” said Zuckerberg.
Ambani agreed with the idea and said that a crisis is too precious to be wasted, it presents an opportunity for new growth. He praised the efforts the government and said that PM Narendra Modi has led India from the front in the battle against COVID and that while India is not as rich as some western countries, he has taken steps to protect the vulnerable. He said Reliance is in the textile business and that in a matter of months, they produced more than 100,000 PPEs and we are now exporters of PPEs as well. Till that time, India was heavily dependent on imports for PPEs.
The Reliance Jio and Facebook partnership was finalized over the summer with a foreign direct investment by the social media giant in Jio Platforms. The idea is to leverage the scale and platform advantages of WhatsApp, WhatsApp for Businesses, WhatsApp Pay and JioMart to get even more offline shopkeepers and small businesses online. “I firmly believe that technology, with all the steps that India has taken will democratize wealth and value creation for individuals and small businesses. Through our partnership (Jio Platforms and Facebook), we will become a value creation platform for our customers and small businesses, giving them a chance to digitize and be at par with anybody else in the world,” said Ambani. “It is accelerating the move for a lot of businesses from physical storefronts to digital,” added Zuckerberg.
Mukesh Ambani is confident that India will grow to become one of the top three economies in the world within the next two decades, and he says that India, with its younger society, will become a digital society in the coming years.