Facebook is reportedly in talks with Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited to create a super app

by Felicia Calle

Reports from the Economic Times has it that Facebook and Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) are in talks in a plan to create a WeChat-like app that will combine digital payments, social, gaming, hotel, and flight bookings, among other features.

RIL owns well-established businesses in sectors such as telecommunications (Jio), retail (Reliance Retail), and digital services.

According to these reports, the idea of creating this app is to enable communication and grocery shopping through RIL’s retail platforms and make the payment via JioMoney, the platform’s fintech app. This new super app would leverage WhatsApp’s platform and user base, the source stated.

This new project will probably see RIL and Facebook contribute technical skill, funding, and domain know-how to the development of the super app. RIL declined to answer questions about this, while Facebook failed to comment about it, the same report said.

The two companies are yet to settle for the final structure of this project, which is still in the process of due diligence. “A new company could be created- where both players could invest – or Facebook could invest in Reliance Retail, and that is the way the partnership could be formed for the new venture,” one of the four sources was quoted saying in the report.

However, the ongoing discussions may have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the beginning of the year, there were reports that Facebook was in talks with RIL to acquire a 10% stake in Jio, which has become one of the leading Telco in India.

“There is going to be a collaboration, but it is not clear how the companies will come together since a lot would depend on commercial viability and the technical know-how both players would bring in,” one of the sources stated.

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