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Google unveils plan to invest $10bn in India

Hannah Boland
·2-min read
Sundar Pichai - Manu Fernandez/AP
Sundar Pichai - Manu Fernandez/AP

Google is investing $10bn (£7.9bn) in India over the next five to seven years in the latest example of Silicon Valley's tech titans moving into the world's biggest untapped digital market.

Speaking at the annual Google for India event, Google boss Sundar Pichai said India's digital journey was "far from complete".

Mr Pichai, who was born and educated in the country, said there was "still more work to do in order to make the internet affordable and useful for a billion Indians". 

Google pledged to set up a Google for India Digitsation Fund, through which it would allocate $10bn in equity investments, partnerships and operational investments in the country.

Part of this would go towards helping get more Indian people affordable access to the internet, and provide them with information in their own languages, Mr Pichai said. 

Google would also spend cash on developing new products and services specifically for the Indian market.

India's prime minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter that he had had an "extremely fruitful" meeting with Mr Pichai where the pair discussed "leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India's farmers, youngsters and entrepreneurs".

News of the latest investment comes in the wake of similar efforts by other tech giants in India. Earlier this year, Amazon said it would be pouring $1bn into India whilst Facebook struck a $5.7bn deal with Indian telecoms firm Reliance Jio in April. 

India has a population of around 1.37bn people and it is set to exceed China as the world’s most populous country by 2027. However, hundreds of millions of its citizens still do not own a smartphone and the country is seen as the world’s biggest untapped digital market, making it hugely appealing to tech giants who are reaching saturation in Western nations.

Until recently, capital has also been pouring in from China, but in April India toughened its rules around investments from companies in neighbouring countries, seen by many as a move targeted at China. 

Earlier this month, India took a step further in cutting ties with China, banning almost 60 apps originating from the country, claiming there were complaints that they "steal and surreptitiously transmit" user data.

Tensions between the two countries have been escalating in recent weeks due to a border dispute which has led to the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers.