Undeterred by the economic downturn and the coronavirus lockdown, Reliance Industries CMD Mukesh Ambani made a slew of announcements including 5G offering, strategic partnership with Google, road map for JioMart and consolidation in oil and gas business on Wednesday.
AtmaNirbhar in 5G Solutions
At the 43rd annual general meeting of the company, Ambani, whose wealth recently surpassed that of Warren Buffet, announced that Jio is ready with a 5G solution and said that field deployment can happen in 2021.
‘’Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch and it will be ready for trials as soon as 5G spectrum is available and can be ready for field deployment next year,’’ he said.
‘’Jio is now the undisputed leader in India. It has become a digital lifeline for citizens,’’ Ambani said. He further informed that Jio can create compelling solutions that span multiple industry verticals and ecosystems like media, financial services, new commerce, education, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, smart manufacturing and smart mobility.
Reliance Jio launched a feature phone called JioPhone in 2017 and has sold 100 million JioPhones so far.
Akash Ambani said, ‘’I am proud to share that the entire 5G stack has been made by Jio employees. It is ready for deployment once the spectrum is allocated.
Rs 33,737 crore Google deal
Ambani confirmed the reports with regards to Google’s investment worth Rs 33,737 crore in Jio Platforms for a 7.73% stake. "Google and Jio are partnering to build an operating system that could power a value engineered, entry level 4G/5G smartphone. The Jio-Google partnership is determined to make India 2G-mukt," Ambani said.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his tweet said, ‘’ Everyone should have access to the internet. Proud to partner with @reliancejio to increase access for the hundreds of millions in India who don’t own a smartphone with our first investment of $45 billion from Google for India Digitization Fund.’’
With this, Jio Platform now has four strategic partners, namely, Facebook, Intel, Qualcomm ad Google. It has also six of the most admired technology and financial investors and three sovereign funds, taking the total tally of investors to 14. The total funds raised is Rs 1,52,056 crore. The four strategic partners will bring in cash and also play a strategic role in shaping Jio's future.
Facebook co-founding chairman and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said, "We are working together on critical projects that will open up new opportunities for commerce in India. Small businesses are at the core of every country’s economy."
Ambani said RIL has successfully started the JioMart grocery model with kirana partners and the grocery platform is being piloted in 200 cities. Daily orders have crossed 2.5 lakh. "Two thirds of our nearly 12,000 stores are operated in Tier II, Tier III and Tier IV towns. The deep rooted bond with tens of thousands of farmers that has helped us to source over 80%of our fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers. JioMart and Facebook-owned WhatsApp will work together to create more growth opportunities for kirana stores in India," he added.
Isha Ambani said, "JioMart is built upon two fundamental pillars – a powerful omni channel tech platform to unite customers, kiranas and producers and a widespread physical network of Reliance Retail that takes benefits of new commerce to every corner".
Oil to Chemicals Business
Ambani said ‘’ We will approach the National Company Law Tribunal with our proposal to spin off our oil to chemicals business into a separate subsidiary to facilitate multiple partnership opportunities.’’ He further informed that due to unforeseen circumstances amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the $15 billion stake sale in oil-to-chemical business to Saudi Aramco has not progressed as per original timelines. ‘’We are targeting to become net carbon neutral by 2035,’’ he noted.
Ambani concluded that the Reliance Group has strengthened its position after the recent investments. It is now a zero net debt company and has a ‘’very strong’’ balance sheet.