Mukesh Ambani sold off his dream.

Mukesh Ambani spent much of 2020 convincing Facebook Inc., Google and a clutch of Wall Street heavyweights to buy into his vision for one of the world’s most ambitious corporate transformations.

Now flush with $27 billion in fresh capital, Asia’s richest man is under pressure to deliver.

The 63-year-old Indian tycoon is focused on a handful of priorities as he tries to turn Reliance Industries Ltd. from an old-economy conglomerate into a technology and e-commerce titan, according to recent public statements and people familiar with the company’s plans.

These include developing products for the anticipated roll-out next year of a local 5G network; incorporating Facebook’s WhatsApp payments service into Reliance’s digital platform; and integrating the company’s e-commerce offerings with a network of physical mom-and-pop shops across the country. Ambani is also pushing forward with plans to sell a stake in Reliance’s oil and petrochemical units, a deal he had originally hoped would reduce debt and finance his high-tech pivot earlier this year.

Investors are watching Ambani’s every move as he overhauls his empire — with a market value of $179 billion — in the middle of a pandemic, wading into highly competitive industries and taking on rivals from Amazon.com Inc. to Walmart Inc. Reliance shares rose as much as 55% this year to an all-time high in September, but they’ve since pared gains as stakeholders look for more evidence that Ambani can execute.

“The jury is out,” said Nandan Nilekani, who co-founded Infosys Ltd. in 1981 and now serves as chairman of the Bangalore-based software services provider valued at about $72 billion. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”

A spokesman for Mumbai-based Reliance Industries declined to comment for this story.

Source: https://theprint.in/economy/mukesh-ambani-sold-a-dream-to-tech-giants-for-27-billion-now-he-has-to-deliver/575560/

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