Sundar Pichai, the Chief Executive Officer of Google, announced that the search engine would invest $10 billion in India to help develop infrastructure and fund digital innovation over the next five to seven years.
This investment would be done as part of the ‘GoogleForIndia Digitization Fund’ and would be done through equity investments, partnerships and operational infrastructure in ecosystem investments.
This announcement was made at the sixth edition of the GoogleForIndia initiative that was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology in India.
“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,” he said via video conference at the company’s annual event focused on India.
He also shared a message on social media about this initiative.
Today at #GoogleForIndia we announced a new $10B digitization fund to help accelerate India’s digital economy. We’re proud to support PM @narendramodi’s vision for Digital India – many thanks to Minister @rsprasad & Minister @DrRPNishank for joining us. https://t.co/H0EUFYSD1q
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) July 13, 2020
According to a release by Google, the investment will focus on four primary areas important for the digitization of India:
1. Helping Indians gain access to information in their vernacular languages
2. Customizing and building new products and services that cater to the needs of India
3. Empowering businesses as they make their digital transformations
4. Leveraging technology and AI for social good in sectors such as education, health, and agriculture
Pichai also had a virtual meeting with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi earlier in the day today.
This morning, had an extremely fruitful interaction with @sundarpichai. We spoke on a wide range of subjects, particularly leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India’s farmers, youngsters and entrepreneurs. pic.twitter.com/IS9W24zZxs
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 13, 2020
Sanjay Gupta, the head of Google in India, said the company’s new $10 billion commitment to India today would shape the future of many of its products and services in the country. “We are recommitting ourselves to partner deeply and support India in becoming a truly digital nation,” he said.
India, with a population of around 1.3 billion, is a key market for Google. Its products such as the Google search, YouTube, and Android have had a massive reach with much of its online population.
This announcement also comes close on the heels of the Indian government shutting its doors to Chinese firms: the government banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat, CamScanner, and UC Browser earlier following a border dispute with China.