Facebook invests $5.7 billion in Reliance JioFacebook invests $5.7 billion in Reliance Jio
A woman checks her mobile phone as she walks past a mobile store of Reliance Industries’ Jio telecoms unit in Mumbai

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc announced a $5.7 billion investment in Reliance Industries Ltd’s telecom unit on Wednesday, making it the largest minority shareholder in Jio Platforms Limited.

The social media giant said it would focus on collaborating its messaging platform WhatsApp with Reliance’s e-commerce venture JioMart to enable people to connect with small businesses.

Facebook’s investment will translate to a 9.99% equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis, Jio said https://bit.ly/34Wzy1a in a statement.

The deal comes at a time when Facebook-owned WhatsApp has secured approval to roll out its digital payment service in India, according to media reports, to compete with the likes of Google Pay and Paytm.

WhatsApp has 400 million users in India, its biggest market, reaching nearly 80% of smartphone users in the country.

Reliance Jio, the fast-growing telecom carrier controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, began operations in late 2016.

Last month, Financial Times reported that social media giant was in talks for a 10% stake in Jio but the talks were halted due to global travel bans amid the coronavirus outbreak.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)