Mukesh Ambani’s ambitious courtship of international investors has helped turn India into a rare bright spot for dealmaking in 2020, a shift that bankers say is likely to continue as the battle for the country’s digital economy heats up.
Thanks in large part to $15 billion of investments in Ambani’s technology venture from the likes of Facebook and Silver Lake Partners, India accounts for more than 12 per cent of announced deals in the Asia Pacific region so far this year, the highest ratio since at least 1998. The country’s tally has jumped 18 per cent from a year ago to $55.3 billion, defying an 18 per cent slide for the region, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
With half a billion internet users and growing, India is witnessing pitched battles in everything from e-commerce and content streaming to messaging and digital payments — similar to the early days of China’s digital boom. The sector’s importance has only increased this year as the Covid-19 pandemic pushed India to impose the world’s biggest lockdown in late March.
“India has become one of the busiest markets for M&A in Asia,” said Kerwin Clayton, co-head