Towards the end of 2018, Meta (then Facebook) created a new hot seat for Ajit Mohan to lead their India business. The position of India MD at Facebook was lying vacant for over a year then. Mohan joined Facebook India as the managing director and vice-president in January 2019. Before Mohan, the vice-president title was never given to the past heads of the company's India business. Mohan’s hiring was in line with the California-based internet giant’s decision to bring their India business directly under the core team at Menlo Park headquarters.
In his close to four-year stint with Meta, among other things, Mohan scaled the company’s India operations, focused on growth of small and medium businesses through the platform, promoted community building programs and brought Reels to the country.
As per business intelligence platform Statista, Meta India generated nearly Rs 15 billion in revenue in financial year 2021, a significant increase from the previous year. Before Mohan took charge of the company’s business in the country, their revenue was a little over Rs5 billion. In 2019, the revenue jumped to Rs8.92 billion, followed by Rs12.77 billion in 2021 before touching new heights in 2022.
Under his close to half-decade leadership the company has also made significant investments in businesses across sectors in India. For instance, in June 2019, the company invested in social ecommerce platform Meesho. In February 2020, the company joined others like General Atlantic and Sequoia India to be a part of a funding round of $110 in ed-tech start-up Unacademy. In April 2020, they announced a $5.7 billion, investment in Jio Platforms, making Meta its largest minority shareholder.
In an interview with Storyboard18 towards the beginning of 2022, Mohan had said, “We believe that we play an enabling role in the agenda of businesses in India, especially small businesses and a lot of the success that we have seen in the last few years, is because we have managed to build a platform that adds value for small businesses. That's an agenda that is extremely important to us.”
The partnerships including the one with Jio, where they want to make it easy for people around the country to order from Kirana stores from within WhatsApp and all the programs that they have activated to skill and train entrepreneurs and small businesses, Mohan said was at the heart of the agenda that they have in India.
Mohan who was the CEO of Hotstar before taking over the controls of Meta in India, said in a social media post that when he took on this new role his objective was to build a team and a company that would be a valuable ally to India and play a useful role in fueling its economic and social transformation.
“This is exactly what we have managed to do in the last four years,” he said.
Another excerpt from his post says, “The thing that I am most proud of about my tenure at Meta (Facebook) is the team that we built in India. And helming this was an awesome group of people who I am grateful to for their passion, their commitment to the mission and, most of all, for their inspiring leadership through good and tough times.”
In his role as the India head, Mohan’s focus was always on newer areas of business. Be it India’s role in the success of Meta’s metaverse project or the launch of Reels in the country,
“In the last few years for a lot of products we built - be it Reels on Instagram or payments on WhatsApp - we have looked at India as a testbed. We learn from India. The ideas that get articulated here and the products that get shaped here solve for some of the big challenges in the world and that continues,” he had shared with Storyboard18.
Time will tell whether these big challenges will continue to be taken care of by Meta in India under its new leadership. Meanwhile, Mohan is all set to take up new challenges as the Asia Pacific head of Snap Inc.
Read More: Meta India’s head Ajit Mohan moves on