All You Need To Know About Jio Platforms-The Toast of Global Investors The pile of investments peg Jio Platforms' equity value at INR 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of INR 5.16 lakh crore

By Debarghya Sil

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Amid the COVID-19 outbreak—that has brought lives to a standstill and businesses across the planet reporting losses with the threat of bankruptcy looming large—Reliance Industry's digital subsidiary Jio Platforms has kept tech corridors abuzz.

Jio Platforms in the past six weeks has attracted a thumping Rs 97,885.65 crore from leading technology investors.

What is Jio Platforms?

Jio Platforms is a technology subsidiary of Reliance Industries that came into being in late November last year. The company said it had set-up the wholly-owned subsidiary for its digital initiatives with a total capital infusion of INR 1.73 lakh crore.
The subsidiary claims to be a next-generation technology company providing affordable digital services across the country, through its wide range of apps, digital ecosystem, propelled by its latest 4G LTE technology that connects over 388 million subscribers in India.

Services provided under Jio Platforms

The Mukesh Ambani-led company has been developing and fostering a vibrant digital ecosystem with the help of various digital applications, tools and platforms spanning over self-care, information, entertainment, chat and utility tools, among others.

The company claims these services are best-in-class with a gradual increase in customer engagement metrics.

Jio TV: The platform consists of an ocean of more than 600 channels along with 135 HD channels. Users are free to watch their favourites all in one place, from Hindi to leading English channels. Jio TV also offers some value-adds such as the Jio Sports Channels to enhance user's choices.

JioCinema: An app for movie buffs which offers a wide selection of movies across languages.

JioSaavn: The music streaming platform has over 55 million songs and various artists' original programmes has made it difficult for competitors such as Spotify and Apple Music to form their steady customer base. Jio Music merged with Saavn in 2018 and since then continues to be the fastest-growing music streaming platform.

JioNews: A digital News platform that lets customers choose from over 900 magazines, more than 300 newspapers, along with live television, short videos and news articles.

JioMart: Taking advantage of the COVID-19-led restrictions, the company launched Jiomart last month in collaboration with Facebook-owned Whatsapp to directly compete with Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart in the e-commerce space. JioMart now delivers groceries in more than 200 towns across the country.

For cinephiles and those who avoid crowded theatres, the company is set to launch same-day-release on Jio Platforms.

Apart from these apps, the company is also focusing on cutting-edge, technology-enabled digital platforms that will help to accelerate digital adaptation.

Jio Platforms is currently focusing on healthcare, education, agriculture, commerce, government-to-citizen services, gaming and manufacturing. These platforms are supported by emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine, virtual, augmented/mixed reality, and computer vision.

Why is there a buzz?

Ambani-led Jio Platforms plans to become the face of Digital India. From providing high-speed Internet, online groceries to banking and home automation, everything the company intends to be run on an integrated system through Jio.
The pandemic has brought Ambani closer to have his, what he calls, "everything company".
Jio's vision to provide a Digital India for 1.3 billion people falls in line with the world's leading technology investors who are well aware of the potential market in the country.

The biggest investment that raised several eyebrows came in April when Facebook pumped in $5.7 billion (INR 43,574 crore) in Jio Platforms, making the social media giant largest minority shareholder. This investment by Facebook values Jio Platforms at $65.95 billion (INR 4.62 lakh crore) pre-money enterprise value.

Facebook has over 300 million Indian users on its flagship social network, and its new partnership with India's largest telecom provider will offer new insight into an Internet market that's expected to grow by over 200 million users in the next four years.

Soon after the investment, JioMart used Facebook-owned WhatsApp to take orders as the apps were yet to be rolled out.

Eight investments in six weeks

The latest investment in Jio Platforms was of INR 5,683.50 crore on Sunday by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) that translates to 1.16 per cent of the equity.

Prior to this on Friday, Silver Lake invested INR 4,546.8 crore. This is in addition to the INR 5,655.75 crore of investment already made by the private equity firm on 4 May, 2020. This brings the aggregate investment by Silver Lake and its co-investors in Jio Platforms to INR 10,202.55 crore. Silver Lake now holds 2.08 per cent equity in Jio Platforms.

The chain of deals led by Facebook was followed by General Atlantic (INR 6,598.38 crore), Vista Equity Partners (INR 11,367 crore), KKR (INR 11,367 crore) and Mubadala (INR 9,093.60 crore).

With these investments, Jio Platforms has raised INR 97,885.65 crore in exchange for a 21.06 per cent stake.

These investments will also help Reliance Industries to become debt-free before March 2021, as it planned.

Debarghya Sil

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Correspondent

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