Google-Jio deal: How Chinese brands face the first real ‘desi’ threat
Google and Reliance Jio will work on an Android-based OS for affordable smartphones. Now, this could actually …Read MoreAmong all the major announcements made by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani at the company’s 43rd annual general meeting, the one that stands out is the deal with Google. Ambani announced that Google has picked up a stake in Reliance Jio for around Rs 33,000 crore. Google and Reliance Jio will work on an Android-based OS for affordable smartphones. Now, this could actually mean some challenge for established Chinese brands that have been ruling the roost in the country. Brands like Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo, Vivo have a strong presence in he entry-level market. In fact, Chinese brands dominate the space in terms of market share. While they have been making their presence felt in the mid-range and affordable premium space, the Chinese brands’ bread and butter remains affordable phones. This is where Jio’s partnership with Google could spice up things. Reliance Jio is known to offer products at really competitive prices and smartphones aren’t expected to be any different. The combination of Google and Jio could be an enticing proposition for many potential users. Not to forget the anti-China sentiment too could end up playing a crucial role. Jio Platforms and Google have entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone. The phone will be optimised presumably with Jio-specific apps and content. It will also have access to the Google Play Store. This isn’t Google’s first brush with affordable phones as it has a dedicated OS for them called Android Go. What Android Go has perhaps lacked is the Jio ‘factor’. One shouldn’t forget the 5G angle, which is likely to come in play as well. With Jio announcing its intentions about 5G network solutions, it could also have affordable 5G phones — something that remains a pipe dream as of now. Interestingly, Jio has also partnered with one of the world’s biggest chipmaker in Qualcomm. The partnership indicates that Jio is pretty serious about the smartphone market, a space it hasn’t really dabbled into seriously. The Mukesh Ambani-led company is tackling both hardware and software in association with Qualcomm and Google. In the feature phone market, Jio has a strong presence with JioPhone. The partnership with Google and Qualcomm has the ingredients to give more than food for thought to the Chinese brands, which haven’t had ‘desi’ competition in a long time. The smartphone market doesn’t really need a disruptor per se but the whole premise of the Google-Jio deal could end up shaking up things quite a bit.