Facebook-Jio tie-up will bring 25 mn SMEs online
Reliance Industries-backed Jio Mart and Facebook, through its instant messaging platform, will aim to bring around 20-25 million small businesses online in the near term.
“Our excitement is with connecting the dots between WhatsApp and Jio with the objective of helping millions of Kirana owners to digitise their product catalogues,” said Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director, Facebook India at an event organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on Thursday.
The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has crunched a few years of consumer behaviour change into just a few months and weeks, he said, adding the move will ‘fundamentally’ change consumer behaviour in India and enable the agenda to shift a large chunk of consumers to digital payments from physical cash.
In April this year, Facebook acquired a 9.99 per cent stake in Jio Platforms (JPL). A fully-owned subsidiary of Reliance, JPL houses many digital platforms, such as Jio Saavn and Radisys, besides the biggest disruptor in the Indian telecom scene, Jio.
Mohan cited a recent Boston Consulting Group-Facebook consumer behaviour study which showed digitally-influenced purchases had gone up by 15-20 per cent for most big consumer goods brands, which sell apparel, mobile phones and packaged goods that have had ‘deep’ offline networks traditionally. “Video and virtual experiences will be at the heart of buying in the upcoming festive season,” he said.
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp’s voice and video calling volumes have doubled across the country, while the live broadcast from Facebook pages tripled in June 2020 compared to the same period last year. Facebook’s launch of Instagram’s Reels and enabling wider participation on Whatsapp video calls in the past few weeks is reflective of its response to users’ changing consumer behaviour, Mohan said.
This was the Facebook India MD’s first public appearance after the tech giant was embroiled in a controversy of overlooking its hate speech policies earlier this month. A Wall Street Journal article had earlier alleged Facebook of turning a blind eye to a hateful post made by a BJP leader in order to safeguard the social media platform’s business prospects in India.
“We take allegations of bias incredibly seriously and want to make it clear that we denounce hate and bigotry in any form. The (content) policies are enforced globally without regard to anyone’s political position, party affiliation or religious and cultural belief,” Mohan said in a blog post last week.