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Alphabet's Google to commit $10 bln to India

Credit: REUTERS/SANKALP PHARTIYAL

By Sankalp Phartiyal

NEW DELHI, July 13 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's GOOGL.O Google on Monday said it will spend around $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years through equity investments and tie-ups, marking its biggest commitment to a key growth market.

The investments will be done through a so-called digitization fund, highlighting Google's focus on the rapid pace of growth of apps and software platforms in India, one of the world's biggest internet services markets.

"We'll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments," Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, said on a webcast during the annual "Google for India" event.

"This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy."

Google has already made some direct and indirect investments in Indian startups such as local delivery app Dunzo.

Beyond investments via the fund, Google would also focus on areas such as artificial intelligence and education in India, Pichai told Reuters in an interview.

Indian-born Pichai joined Google in 2004, and is widely credited for making the Chrome browser. He replaced company co-founder Larry Page as CEO of parent Alphabet Inc last year.

"Sundar Pichai, who is heading Google, is a very powerful symbol of the creative potential of India's human resource," India's technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at the event.

The U.S. tech group, whose Android mobile operating system powers a bulk of India's roughly 500 million smartphones, will continue to work with manufacturers to build low-cost devices so that more and more people can access the internet, another Google executive said.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Additional reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman)

((sankalp.phartiyal@thomsonreuters.com; +91-11-49548064;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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