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RIL AGM: JioPhoneNext, 5G Rollout and Retail Expansion Next Big Steps for RIL

In its 44th annual general meeting (AGM) conducted virtually on June 24, Reliance Industries (RIL), India's largest company by market capitalization made a string of key announcements including the JioPhone Next with Google

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The market was waiting for details on JioPhone Next and RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani did not disappoint. Among a slew of announcements, Ambani talked in length about JIOPHONE Next, integration between WhatsApp and JioMart on a trial basis; operationalizing an initial 10 MW capacity of JIO-AZURE Cloud Data centers in two cities, Jamnagar and Nagpur, strengthening Reliance Retail among others including the establishing and expanding the 5G services that are 'made in India'.  

It was addressed by Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, RIL. 

On JIOPHONE NEXT

Ambani said: 'I am pleased to announce that Google and Jio teams have jointly developed a truly breakthrough smartphone, that we are calling JIOPHONE Next. It is a fully-featured smartphone, supporting the entire suite of applications from both Google and Jio, as well as the Android Play Store through which users will have access to the entire universe of Android Apps."

While being ultra-affordable, JIOPHONE Next will be packed with cutting-edge features like the voice assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text, language translation, smart camera with augmented reality filters and much more. 'Jio Phone Next' will be available in the market from the auspicious date of Ganesh Chaturthi (September 10) this year, Ambani said.

On 5G

Ambani said his company Jio has tested the Jio 5G solutions in India and we successfully demonstrated speeds well in excess of 1 GBPS. "Our 'Made in India' solution is comprehensive, complete, and globally competitive. It reaffirms my faith in the abundant talent of Indian engineers to deliver world-class products in such cutting-edge technology," he said.

Ambani shared that recently the company had received the necessary regulatory approvals as well as trial spectrum for initiating 5G field trials. "As I speak to you, the entire 5G Standalone Network has been installed in our data centers across the nation and also at our trial sites in Navi Mumbai. We are confident of being the first to launch full-fledged 5G services. And because of our converged, future-proof architecture, JIO's network is uniquely positioned to quickly and seamlessly upgrade from 4G to 5G," he said.

Jio will develop the end-to-end 5G ecosystem and it is now working with leading global partners to develop a full range of 5G-capable devices. The Jio 5G technology is well-positioned to create compelling applications for consumers and enterprises spanning Healthcare, Education, Entertainment, Retail, and other key verticals of the economy, he added.

Ambani on Reliance Retail

Despite challenging and restrictive operating conditions, Reliance Retail continued to deliver industry leading returns, he said. "We added 1,500 new stores, which is amongst the largest retail expansion undertaken by any retailer during this period, taking our store count to 12,711. We continue to maintain and strengthen our leadership position. Today one in every eight Indians shops with Reliance Retail," he said.

The apparel business sold nearly five lakh units per day and over 18 crore units during the year. This is equivalent to dressing the entire population of the UK, Germany, and Spain once, Ambani pointed out.

Ajio has emerged as one of the leading digital commerce platforms for fashion and lifestyle with a portfolio of over 2,000 labels and brands and a listing of over 5 lakh options. Driven by innovation, Ajio now contributes to over 25% of our apparel business, he said.

As India's largest grocery retailer, Reliance Retail sold over a billion units of groceries or about 30 lakh units per day. Our grocery staff operated on the frontlines of crisis ensuring the availability of essential products to our customers and Kirana partners.

JioMart registered over 6.5 lakh peak orders in a single day. JioMart's growth is a testament to its already loyal customer base, 80% of whom are repeat shoppers. JioMart New commerce's aim is to transform and grow the small merchant ecosystem, so our merchant partners prosper. Over the past year, over 3 lakh merchant or shopkeeper partners across 150 cities were enabled and empowered to transform their businesses both physically and digitally.

On Growth Plan for Retail

Reliance Retail continues to be amongst the fastest-growing retailers in the world. The company is committed to growing the business so that we are among the top 10 retailers globally, he said. "I am confident that Reliance Retail is on a hyper-growth trajectory to grow at least 3x in the next 3-5 years," Ambani said.

Growth in the retail sector will usher growth across the value chain — from raw material producers to large and small manufacturers, from logistics service providers to merchants, to Consumers, he said. In order to expand this circle of shared prosperity, Reliance will be focusing on the following five key initiatives, said Ambani.

First: To further invest in research, design and product development capabilities. In the next year, the company will set up design, research, technology and innovation centers in key areas globally and nationally to develop differentiated offerings for our diverse customer groups.

Second: It will further strengthen its sourcing ecosystem working closely with producers, MSMEs, service providers, local and international brand companies. "We will make them our partners in the journey of value creation that our New Commerce model seeks to unlock," he said.

Third: The company is investing in building state-of-the-art supply chain infrastructure across India by linking all major sourcing and consumption locations. This will maximize efficiencies and minimize losses in the supply chain so that we can share the gains with both consumers and producers, said Ambani. 

Fourth: The company will focus on expanding its store footprint multi-fold this year with co-located delivery hubs over the next few years. They will provide a strong network to reach and serve millions of merchants and customers, he added.

Fifth: Reliance Retail will continue acquiring businesses to heighten our offering and experience to customers, sharpen our omnichannel capabilities, drive operating efficiencies and strengthen our talent pool. Recent acquisitions include leading physical/digital commerce platforms like Netmeds, Urban Ladder and Zivame.

"I am personally proud to report to you that Reliance Retail has not only protected jobs, but also created over 65,000 new jobs. Reliance Retail currently employs over 2 lakh people making us one of the largest employers in the country," Amabani said.  

More Updates to Follow