Facebook buying stake in Indian e-commerce start-up Meesho

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Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, leaves after an interview with Reuters in Mumbai, June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Facebook is buying a stake in Indian e-commerce start-up Meesho, the head of the US tech giant’s Indian business said on Thursday, looking to deepen its reach in one of the world’s biggest internet markets.

Meesho, a digital platform on which re-sellers of everything from jewellery to mobile phones reach prospective customers via social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, already has about 2 million entrepreneurs focused on India’s smaller towns and cities, the vice-president and managing director at Facebook India told Reuters.

“It reflects the new India that is showing up on the Internet,” Ajit Mohan added.

He declined to disclose the value of Facebook’s investment in Meesho or the size of the stake it is acquiring.

The investment will help Meesho to further its “efforts to enable independent entrepreneurs to build businesses and grow their customer base via social channels”, Meesho said on its website.

Meesho, founded by two engineering graduates in 2015, has raised more than $65 million in funding and counts Shunwei Capital and DST Partners among its backers.

Mohan said Facebook’s investment will help Meesho to maximise its impact on a central plank of India’s economic growth agenda by supporting job creation through entrepreneurship.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, its WhatsApp messenger app and Twitter have come under intense scrutiny in India as the federal government looks to tighten rules that could require the companies to monitor online content around the clock.

India will hold wide consultations with internet companies before finalising rules to regulate content on social media, New Delhi has said previously.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by David Goodman)

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