Google announces $10bn investment in 'digital India'

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Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc, announced the investment via livestream on Monday at the annual Google (GOOGL) for India event. — Courtesy photo
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc, announced the investment via livestream on Monday at the annual Google (GOOGL) for India event. — Courtesy photo

NEW DELHI — Google has decided to invest $10 billion in India as part of its plans to make the internet "affordable and useful" for a billion people.

The investment will be used to build products and services for India, help businesses go digital and use technology "for social good".

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc, announced the investment via livestream on Monday at the annual Google (GOOGL) for India event. "This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy," he said in a statement.

"India's own digital journey is far from complete. There's still more work to do in order to make the internet affordable and useful for a billion Indians ... from improving voice input and computing for all of India's languages to inspiring and supporting a whole new generation of entrepreneurs," he added.

The Google for India Digitization Fund will pour money into India's tech sector over the next five to seven years through a mixture of equity investments, partnerships, and spending on infrastructure.

The investment will focus on enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, building new products and services relevant to India's unique needs, helping businesses with digital transformation and leveraging technology and artificial intelligence for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture.

Pichai, who was born in India, also touted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India project which aims to overhaul the country's digital infrastructure.

"As we make these investments we look forward to working alongside Prime Minister (Narendra Modi and the Indian government, as well as Indian businesses of all sizes to realize a shared vision for a Digital India," Pichai said. "Our goal is to ensure that India not only benefits from the next wave of innovation but leads it."

Modi tweeted to say that he and Pichai had discussed "leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India's farmers, youngsters and entrepreneurs". — Agencies


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