According to reports, Amazon.com is currently in discussions to acquire a stake of at least $2 billion in Bharti Airtel, one of India’s leading mobile operators. This move highlights the growing interest of U.S. tech giants in India’s booming digital economy. Should the deal go through, Amazon would possess approximately 5% of Bharti, solidifying its position in India’s telecommunications industry, which boasts over 300 million subscribers. These talks between Amazon and Bharti arrive at a time when global players are making substantial investments in Reliance Industries’ digital unit, which is the competitor of Bharti’s Jio.
Notably, Reliance’s digital unit has recently secured $10 billion in investments from notable investors like Facebook and KKR. While discussions between Bharti and Amazon are still in their early stages, and the terms of the deal remain uncertain, sources suggest that an agreement may not be reached. Both Amazon and Bharti have chosen to withhold comment on the matter.
Recognizing India as a crucial growth market, Amazon has already pledged $6.5 billion in investments, mainly aimed at expanding its e-commerce presence within the country. Additionally, the company has been actively enhancing its digital offerings in India, such as voice-activated speakers, video streaming services, and cloud storage solutions. This strategic move aligns with Amazon’s goal to tap into India’s ever-growing population of internet and smartphone users, which currently stands at 1.3 billion.