Indian telecommunications giant Big Reliance Jio and Facebook are joining hands to create a mega app that can meet every Indian’s digital needs through activities ranging from shopping to booking movie tickets, making online purchases to just chatting with friends or posting on social media.
All Facebook and Reliance Jio will put in their own domain expertise to the joint venture’s success. Facebook would exploit its user base on the WhatsApp platform while Jio would help drive adoption across its subscriber base.
Commercial due diligence is underway for the project, and Morgan Stanley was selected as the investment banker for the contract.
Reports say that negotiations were postponed due to COVID-19 related lockdown as both firms employed top lawyers and consultants to investigate all facets of the project including legal concerns and taxation.
If and when it materializes, the app will be something along the lines of WeChat in China where it is the go-to app for a large part of the Chinese people to handle their daily tasks. Indian consumers currently rely on a variety of different applications for needs such as texting, retail shopping, digital payments, and ticket booking.
If Reliance Jio succeeds in successfully delivering all these solutions under one roof, then the potential to expand is enormous. Jio will also benefit B2C interaction with its service businesses, as well as big data on customer spending habits. The app would also open revenue opportunities for companies like Reliance Retail, Ajio.com and JioMoney.
This latest development comes in the wake of news that Facebook was taking up a ten percent stake in the telecom giant in talks with Reliance Jio. The talks were inconclusive because of the air travel ban that was enforced in India following the March 24 lockdown.