Newly digitising sectors (including agriculture, education, energy, financial services, healthcare, logistics, and retail) as well as digital applications in government services and labour markets could each create $10 billion to $150 billion of incremental economic value by 2025 in India, according to a new report by Mckinsey Global Institute.
In February, RIL announced $110 million of new investments in five companies
related to logistics, pharma retail and data management/AI space, end-to-end voice technology and simulation services for manufacturing. Over the past five years, RIL has invested $1.2 billion (acquisitions less than $1 billion) to build capabilities across various business. After entering into agreements to acquire logistics services platform Grab and software firm C-Square Info Solutions, RIL, through its subsidiary Reliance Industrial Investments & Holdings (RIIHL), is acquiring three start-ups namely — Reveries, EasyGov, and Sankhya Sutra Labs. While reverie offers multilingual language support, EasyGov is in the e-governance space and Sankhya Sutra is into industrial fluid dynamics.
So, first Jio had the telecom network, then the device and its advertising ecosystem. Now, the company is building the consumer facing software base with the likes of Reverie and possibly Haptik.
Pareekh Jain, founder of Pareekh Consulting said, “The conglomerate is certainly building their e-commerce muscle through these acquisitions. A multilingual approach fits in perfectly with the kirana store outreach programme they have announced.”
He said globally there were examples like T-Mobile and T-Systems, which provide complementary telecom and tech services and RIL may follow a similar path across their consumers and in-house services.
During RIL's AGM in 2018, Ambani indicated aspirations to plug kirana shops into their retail platform, using technology and its connectivity platform (Jio). While there is limited visibility on the commercial roll-out of such initiatives, several media reports have suggested a launch possibly in the next few months and is currently in test phase. According to HSBC estimates, the digital arm of RIL’s business (independent of the organised retail) is valued around $48 billion.