Digitization will double incomes in India, Asia’s richest man says

Billionaire business magnate Mukesh Ambani believes that India is set to become the world’s third largest economy by 2040 as digital transformation will push incomes in the country higher.

India is on path to become “a premier digital society,” the oil and telecom tycoon said during Fuel for India 2020, a virtual event organized by Facebook. The US tech giant is one of the biggest foreign investors in the Indian economy, particularly in the digital arm of Ambani’s conglomerate, Reliance Industries.

“I firmly believe that in the next two decades, India will grow to be among the top three economies in the world,” the Indian billionaire said as he joined Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the online meeting. He also predicted that per capita income in the country would surge from the current levels of $1,800-$2,000 to $5,000 due to digital development.

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Ambani believes that he and Zuckerberg are contributing to this transformation, with both his platform Jio and Facebook’s WhatsApp enjoying a subscriber base of hundreds of millions. Meanwhile, Reliance’s retail service Jio Mart, gives small shops “a chance to digitize and be at par with anybody else in the world.” These platforms, including the recently launched WhatsApp payments, bring digital connectivity and digital interactivity, according to the 63-year-old businessman.

“Together with our platforms and the tools that we will provide to small businesses and to individual consumers, I believe will drive India to a $5 trillion economy and will make a much more equal India, with more equal wealth growth at the bottom of the pyramid,” he said.

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Facebook spent years turning WhatsApp into a lucrative business and has long tried to get its messenger’s payment feature fully operational in one of its largest markets. The tech giant secured approval for the roll-out from the Indian authorities last month. Now Zuckerberg hopes that the ease of payments will be “a big deal for commerce.”

Facebook is competing with other US corporate heavyweights for the massive Indian market. Months after Facebook invested $5.7 billion for a 9.99 percent stake in Jio Platforms, Google announced that it will invest $4.5 billion in the company. At the beginning of 2020, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company wants to invest $1 billion to digitize small and medium-sized businesses in India.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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