Reliance Industries and Facebook are exploring the idea of creating a super-app similar to WeChat. According to Economic Times, the social media giant is looking at leveraging the user base of WhatsApp for the super app. Mukesh Ambani-led RIL and Facebook would reportedly bring in the funding, technical knowhow and domain expertise for the application. Facebook was reportedly looking at acquiring a stake in Reliance Jio. Also Read - Facebook's RegNet AI model tops Google's EfficientNet, runs 5 times faster on GPUs
The new report notes that the ongoing discussions have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. With super-app, the two companies are looking to design an app that works as a one-stop shop for all user needs. In China, WeChat is not only used for messaging but it can also be used to order food, book cabs, book flights or hotels and even make mobile payments. In the case of Reliance, the company is looking at tap Reliance Retail stories to purchase groceries. Also Read - Facebook launches Quiet Mode to curb social media addiction; here's when you will get it
The app will also integrate with ajio.com for shopping and payments will be processed via JioMoney. The idea is not new and is inspired by WeChat, which is estimated to have over 900 million users in China. The app is seen as a way for Reliance Industries to tie its commercial and consumer business divisions. ET further notes that Morgan Stanley has been appointed the investment banker for the project. Also Read - Facebook quietly adds private dating app to App store
“This is going to be a defining partnership, and it’s not just a financial investment. The deal is about creating value and a business that would differentiate both Facebook and Reliance,” a person familiar with the plan told ET.
It is also not confirmed whether these two companies will create a new company to fund this project. With reports of Facebook exploring a stake in Reliance Jio, we might see the social media giant invest in Reliance Retail as well. The exact nature of the partnership between the two companies remains unknown at this time. Financial Times had reported that Facebook is looking to pick up a 10 percent stake in Reliance Jio for “billions of dollars”. Hike tried to build a super app but pivoted to focus on single area.