QIA, Qatar’s sovereign fund, will invest $1 billion in Reliance Retail for a 0.99% stake in India’s largest retail chain, the two firms said Wednesday. The investment values Reliance Retail, part of Mukesh Ambani’s oil-to-telecom giant Reliance Industries, at $100 billion (pre-money).

Reliance Retail — which operates 18,500 stores and digital commerce platforms, selling everything from electronics to fashion and pharma — was last valued at $62.4 billion in 2020, when it raised billions of dollars from investors including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and private equity giant KKR.

The investment comes at a time when Reliance Retail is expanding into new categories, including low-cost fast-fashion. The company has also partnered with Shein for the Chinese e-commerce firm’s re-entry in India.

“QIA is committed to supporting innovative companies with high-growth potential in India’s fast growing retail market. We are looking forward to Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, with its strong vision and impressive growth trajectory, joining our growing and diverse portfolio of investments in India,” said Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QIA, in a statement.

Reliance Retail is also aggressively expanding into e-commerce and maintains a partnership with Meta’s WhatsApp. Though Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon India currently lead the e-commerce market in India, analysts believe that Reliance will eventually outpace both the firms.

AllianceBernstein analysts wrote in a note earlier this year that Reliance’s robust retail network, a sweeping mobile network, a holistic digital ecosystem and a “home field advantage” in a notoriously challenging regulatory landscape will help the Indian conglomerate beat online rivals.

The Reliance Retail maze (Image and research: Bernstein)

Reliance Industries, which owns the majority of Reliance Retail Ventures, has aggressively expanded into a wide-range of sectors, including telecom and on-demand video streaming in the past decade as it diversifies from its reliance on oil. Isha Ambani, one of the three kids of Ambani, leads the retail business.

She said in a statement: “We look forward to benefitting from QIA’s global experience and strong track record of value creation as we further develop Reliance Retail Ventures Limited into a world class institution, driving transformation of the Indian retail sector. The investment by QIA is a strong endorsement of a positive outlook towards Indian economy and Reliance’s retail business model, strategy and execution capabilities.”