Google to invest Rs.75,000 crore for India Digitization programme
13 July 2020: Digital payments, for example, have enabled families across India to access goods and services during lockdowns. So, to help accelerate India’s digital economy, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a $10 billion Google for India Digitization Fund.
In a statement to media Pichai said ““I’m excited to announce the Google for India Digitization Fund. Through this effort, we will invest Rs.75,000 crore, or approximately $10 billion, into India over the next 5-7 years. We’ll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy. As we make these investments, we look forward to working alongside Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government, as well as Indian businesses of all sizes to realize our shared vision for a Digital India.”
He added “Just four years ago, only one-third of all small businesses in India had an online presence. Today, 26 million SMBs are now discoverable on Search and Maps, driving connections with more than 150 million users every month. What’s more, small merchants across the country are now equipped to accept digital payments. This has made it possible for more small businesses to become part of the formal economy, and it improves their access to credit.”
He says that from the excitement of young people using the latest apps and services, to the ways people are using smartphones to improve lives in rural villages, to the more than 2,500 Indian YouTube creators who each have over a million subscribers. “At Google, we’ve been proud to be a partner in India’s digitization journey since 2004, when we opened our first offices in Hyderabad and Bangalore. We have helped more than 30 million women across India gain digital skills to improve their lives and their communities.”
Over the years, Google has invested in many Indian businesses through Google, as well as through growth equity investment fund CapitalG.
After the India investment announcement, Sundar Pichai interacted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conferencing. He briefed the PM about new products and initiatives by Google in the country. He mentioned about the launch of AI Research Lab in Bengaluru, while also highlighting the benefits of Google’s flood forecasting efforts. He informed the Prime Minister about Google’s plan to launch a large investment fund and develop strategic partnerships in India. Prime Minister remarked that India is amongst the most open economies in the world. Other areas of discussion included technological solutions to expand the scope of online education, access to technology in native language, use of AR/VR to give a stadium-like viewing experience in the field of sports, and progress in the area of digital payments..