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Facebook invests $5.7B in Indian telecom Jio

It hopes to use WhatsApp for digital payments.

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Facebook is expanding its reach in India.
Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook on Tuesday revealed that it'd made a $5.7 billion investment in India's Jio Platforms, making it the telecom giant's largest minority shareholder at nearly 10%. The company, which is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has brought 388 million people online in less than four years, making it the country's biggest carrier.

The social network tried to bring internet access to the country back in 2016, but was banned for violating net neutrality rules.

This time, it's hoping to use its WhatsApp messaging service, which has more than 400 million users in India, to make digital payments at Jio-owned stores.

"By bringing together JioMart, Jio's small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience," David Fischer, Facebook's Chief Revenue Officer, and Ajit Mohan, its vice president and managing director for India, wrote in a blog post.