Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc.’s chief executive officer, hopes the social media giant and Reliance Industries Ltd. can together transform India’s digital payments landscape, replicating the latter’s success in disrupting the telecom sector.
Zuckerberg in an online event mentioned Dhirubhai Ambani, Reliance’s late founder, who he said had envisioned phone calls in India as cheap as postcards, priced at less than a cent then. His son Mukesh Ambani’s ability to make that wish come true has inspired him, Zuckerberg said.
“That’s what we’ve tried to do with messaging…and hopefully we can do that together with payments,” Zuckerberg told Ambani during the event.
The telecom unit helmed by Ambani, Asia’s richest man, disrupted the sector in 2016 when it entered with free calls and dirt-cheap data tariffs, forcing rivals to quit, merge or go bankrupt while it became country’s top wireless carrier over time. Ambani and Zuckerberg are now betting big on India as its billion-plus consumers get hooked on their smartphones and increasingly rely on it for everything from entertainment and grocery purchases to online money transfers.