July 15 2020: Google has announced a $ 10 billion investment in India over the next 5-7 years. The invest will fuel affordable access and information in Indian languages; building India-specific products; digital transformation of businesses and Artificial Intelligence for social good, health, education and agriculture.
Here are the key remarks of Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet at the Google for India Virtual Summit July 13 2020
When I was young, every new piece of technology brought new opportunities to learn and grow. But I always had to wait for it to arrive from someplace else. Today, people in India no longer have to wait for technology to come to you. A whole new generation of technologies are happening in India first.
One of the most exciting success stories has been the digitization of small businesses. 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. What’s more, small merchants across the country are now equipped to accept digital payments. This has made it possible for more small businesses to become part of the formal economy, and it improves their access to credit.
At Google, we’ve been proud to be a partner in India’s digitization journey since 2004, when we opened our first offices in Hyderabad and Bangalore. In those days, our focus was on getting helpful and relevant information to Indian users through Search, whether they were searching for their favorite Bollywood star or cricket scores.|
From there, we spread awareness of the Internet in rural villages through programs like Internet Saathi. It’s helped more than 30 million women across India gain digital skills to improve their lives and their communities.
Building products for India first has helped us build better products for users everywhere. A recent example is GPay, our fast, simple way to pay contactless or online. Together with the rise in BHIM-UPI adoption, GPay makes it easy to pay the rickshawala, or send money to family back home. India is setting the global standard on how to digitize payments, and it’s now helping us build a global product.
Our AI-powered reading tutor app Bolo, now called Read Along, is another example of a technology built specifically for Indian users. Last year I visited with students in Mumbai who were using the app to learn to read on their own. It was amazing to see their excitement when they read a new word in Hindi for the first time. It received such positive reception, we’re rolling it out to the rest of the world—now children in 180 countries can learn to read in nine languages, with more to come.
These are just a few examples of how innovations that start in India can benefit the rest of the world. But 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.
Google investment in India
Over the years, we’ve invested in many Indian businesses through Google, as well as through our growth equity investment fund CapitalG.
Today, I’m excited to announce the Google for India Digitization Fund. Through this effort, we will invest ₹75,000 crore, or approximately $10 billion, into India over the next 5-7 years. We’ll do this through a 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.
Investments will focus on four areas important to India’s digitization:
Full text of Pichai speech here