Tech giant, Google on Monday announced a $10 billion (Rs 75,000 crore) Google for India digitization fund in India over the course of next 5-7 years to support small businesses/startups, online education for the country’s digital transformation.
Google’s Indian origin CEO, Sundar Pichai said during the company’s first virtual Google for India event that the investment will happen through a mix of 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,” Pichai added.
Google CEO said that the $10 billion investment in India will focus on four areas including enabling accessibility to information for ever India in their local language, building new products and services relevant to the country’s unique needs, empowerment of small businesses and leveraging technology and AI for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture.
The tech giant has backed many startups in India in mobility, edtech, fintech and telemedicine spaces through its growth equity investment fund, CapitalG.
Pichai said that this will be possible through partnership with the Indian government and private businesses to share Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s vision of a digital India. While praising the fast growing app economy of India and its 2500 Youtubers who have a huge following online, Pichai said that that the accessibility to low cost smartphones and affordable data has paved the way for the same.
Digitising small businesses
The digitization of small and medium busineses (SMBs) across the country has also been pivotal to the transformation with 26 million SMBs now discoverable on Google search and maps, Pichai said. He added that the Google’s digital payments platform, Google Pay has been a part of their success story in India which has enabled the Indian families to acess the essential goods during the locdowns .
“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,” Pichai said.Google Pay now has over 3million merchant user base in India, atop Google executive earlier said.
Google’s India initiatives go global
Pichai said that Google’s several initiatives for India including its rural internet programme, Internet Saathi, payments platform, Google Pay and reading tutor app, Bolo have proved to be a hit in India and the company has plans to scale these projects for the global users.
Google also announced a tie-up with the Central Board for School Education(CBSE) which will help over 1 million teachers across 22,000 schools in the country to impart education using free online tools.