India's Reliance Jio is planning to set up a global subsidiary in Estonia to support its international expansion, according to press reports.
Parent company Reliance Industries will reportedly load the Estonian unit some 122 million Indian rupees ($1.77 million) to launch operations.
The move would be the first for Reliance Jio outside the Indian market, where it has caused mayhem since first launching operations in September 2016. The reports come as Estonia looks to forge closer ties with India. Urve Palo, Estonia's entrepreneurship and IT minister, visited India in March this year, and there are plans for collaboration in areas including cybersecurity and e-government.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani appears to have met with the Estonian delegation during their visit and expressed interest in working with Estonia to develop an e-government solution for the Indian market. Nearly 100% of government services are available online in Estonia.
With a population of just 1.3 million, Estonia is one of the smallest countries in the European Union. Reports do not indicate why it may have been chosen as the location for a global foray, but a presence in the country would certainly give RJio access to the European market.
Archrival Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) has done a similar thing by setting up an international holding company in the Netherlands. It is this holding company that controls Airtel's operations in Africa.
Intense competition in India might give have given RJio a reason to look outside the country's borders. Subscriber growth has slowed after rocketing to more than 200 million customers since September 2016 and overseas markets could provide new opportunities.
That said, outside India, Europe's markets are already some of the most competitive in the world. If the reports prove accurate, RJio's intentions in setting up a base in Estonia should become clearer in the next few months.
— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading