Facebook has underscored its commitment to India’s growth and socio-economic transformation at the first edition of the Facebook Fuel For India 2020 summit. Among its key focus areas for 2021 is to support the government’s push towards financial inclusion through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and to drive economic recovery by deepening support for small businesses in the post-pandemic world.
The collaboration with Jio Platforms is also a bid in the similar direction — to accelerate India’s digital transformation and to open up new opportunities for people and businesses around the country.
“At Facebook, we are in the business of serving small businesses. And nowhere is this more true than in India. With more than 60 million small businesses and millions of people around the country relying on them for jobs — these small businesses form a big part of what our partnership with Jio can serve here. This is especially important because small businesses in India will be a key part of the global economic recovery going forward. And we're focused on making sure we build the best tools for them,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman and
Speaking about Jio’s partnership with Facebook, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, said, “I firmly believe that technology, with all the steps that India has taken, will democratise wealth and value creation for individuals and small businesses. Through our partnership (Jio Platforms and Facebook), we will become a value-creation platform for our customers and small businesses, giving them a chance to digitise and be at par with anybody else in the world.”
The ‘Nayi Shuruaat’ campaign was launched during the summit as an ode to the resilience of small businesses amid the crisis. The campaign film captured the real stories of how small businesses have moved online during the pandemic to recover, make a new start, and grow using the power of their Facebook communities. Facebook proposes to continue building a stronger ecosystem for small business growth in the country by investing in skilling programmes such as Boost with Facebook, entering in key partnerships such as with venture capital funds for the VC Brand Incubator programme, and by giving people new ways to support small businesses such as the Instagram Food Stickers.
A release issued by the social media platform stated, “In order to support small businesses move online seamlessly, we recently reached out to 9 million small businesses across India with a local SMB Guide available in both Hindi and English.”
Anticipating an increase in India’s appetite for video content with the onset of 5G technology, Facebook also proposes to bring in newer social video experiences in 2021.
“Globally, more than 1.25 billion people visit Watch every month to discover and share videos from millions of creators and publishers and India is one of the leading markets for Watch. Our video strategy for India is truly reflective of the width of consumer tastes in the country and we will continue to invest in movies, music and cricket to drive engagement and give our community what they want,” the release said.
In a bid to be a platform for economic opportunity, it is also investing in India’s digital ecosystem like Meesho and Unacademy to work to create long-term impact in areas like women entrepreneurship and education.
Since Facebook and WhatsApp’s largest communities are in India, it makes India a key market to roll out their new features. “From the launch of Reels on Instagram, to Watch on Facebook and Payments on WhatsApp, India is playing a crucial role in the way products are being designed for the future. We launched the Blood Donation tool in India, a first in 2017 to address the shortage of blood in the country. Today there are more than 52 million Facebook users in the country who have signed up to receive blood donation notifications from blood banks,” stated the release.
Elaborating on India’s importance, Zuckerberg said, “What happens in India is important for the whole world. India is building local capabilities and tech capacity to power innovative new business models and provide the citizens access to digital financial inclusion. So, decisions that are made here shape the global discussion about how technology can drive more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people.”