Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced on Monday that Google plans to invest around $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years. The investment will be made via the India Digitization Fund to help accelerate India’s digital economy.
"We’ll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments," Pichai said in a blog. "This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy."
While Google has a history of investing in India, which was where Pichai was born, the $10 billion is the largest to date. Google first started investing in India in 2004, which was the same year that Pichai joined Google.
According to a story by Reuters, India has more than 500 million internet users, and Google wants to help an additional 500 million get online.
"It’s been incredible to see the rapid pace of change unfolding over my past few visits," Pichai said. "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."
Pichai said 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," he said. "This has made it possible for more small businesses to become part of the formal economy, and it improves their access to credit.
"The global pandemic has supercharged the adoption of digital tools. Digital payments, for example, have enabled families across India to access goods and services during lockdowns. For them, grocery delivery services have been invaluable."