Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries announced yet another deal on Sunday, with the US-based Qualcomm Incorporated’s investment arm, Qualcomm Ventures, deciding to buy a 0.15 per cent stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 730 crore. Jio Platforms is the digital services arm of Reliance Industries which houses telecom company Reliance Jio Infocomm. Qualcomm is the third strategic investor in Jio Platforms, after Facebook Inc and US semiconductor company Intel.
This is the thirteenth investment in Jio Platforms since April 22 and Jio Platforms has so far raised a whooping Rs 1,18,318.45 crore within a span of 12 weeks. Recent investors in Jio Platforms include the US-based Facebook, General Atlantic, KKR and Intel Corporation, Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Here are key things to know about Qualcomm:
Qualcomm, headquartered at San Diego, California, is one of the world’s leading wireless technology companies specializing in 3G, 4G and 5G wireless technologies. Qualcomm’s technologies and products are widely used in mobile devices and other wireless products throughout the world. Qualcomm is currently working on developing fifth-generation (5G) technology, which will have huge applications in diverse areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet-of-Things and Big Data.
While announcing the Jio-Qualcomm deal in a statement on Sunday, Reliance Industries said Qualcomm Ventures’ investment will support Jio Platforms “on its journey to roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers”.
Qualcomm’s work in the 5G space assumes special significance in the context of the stake purchase in Jio Platforms, given the geopolitical significance of 5G, the increasing pushback against the Chinese telecom giant and 5G network developer Huawei, and Reliance Industries’ push to roll out a home-grown 5G network.
“As a world leader in wireless technologies, Qualcomm offers deep technology knowhow and insights that will help us deliver on our 5G vision and the digital transformation of India for both people and enterprises,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries.
Huawei was once considered a 5G provider of choice, along with the likes of Ericsson and Nokia, due to its expertise and low costs. But USA has already banned the Chinese company and other countries are also weighing their options as China’s increasing assertiveness worldwide is fuelling fears that a Huawei-driven 5G network could compromise on network security and privacy.
In wake of the border clash between India and China, that left 20 Indian soldiers dead, the government blocked 59 Chinese apps such as TikTok and WeChat on the ground that they are detrimental to national security.
Reliance Jio Platforms has disrupted India’s telecommunications market by offering cut-rate voice and data plans and its dominance in the Indian telecom market has made it an attractive firm for the whose-who of the world’s high-profile investors.