Reliance Industries, Facebook to collaborate for an app?

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and Facebook are looking at the possibility of developing a multipurpose app, just like the Chinese super-app WeChat, by leveraging the WhatsApp platform and user base, said the sources involved in this process. The two would come in with funding, technical knowhow and domain expertise for the project, they added.

As per the ongoing conversations, which have been postponed because of the ongoing global issue, the motive is to make an app that is not just a communication platform but one where users can also buy groceries through Reliance Retail stores, or shop at ajio.com, or make payments using JioMoney.

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The motive is to make a super-app on the lines of WeChat, which included digital payments, social media, gaming and even flight and hotel bookings, to name a few things. This kind of app would give RIL a two-fold benefit — give B2C engagement for its consumer businesses, and give the group insights on users’ spending habits.

Commercial due diligence on

Commercial due diligence for the project is currently on. Morgan Stanley has been appointed the investment banker.

“The negotiations are being compartmentalised. So, someone working on the commercial side wouldn’t know what’s happening on the technology or the financial aspects of the deal,” said a source.

Unclear final structure

Though the idea is just in talks and does not have a final structure as of now, a source shared: “A new company could be created — where both the players could invest, or Facebook could invest in Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail and that is the way the partnership could be formed for the new venture.

Delay

Though the discussions were about to start, now, it might get a little postponed because of Covid-19 pandemic. “The priority for Reliance Retail right now is to keep stores running so that consumers get supplies. Also, there are travel restrictions right now, which create problems,” he said.