Mukesh Ambani: Racing ahead of peers

India's richest man widens the gap with his peers

Samar Srivastava
Published: Nov 15, 2018 06:07:03 PM IST
Updated: Mar 18, 2021 07:44:20 PM IST

After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.

g_110693_mukesh_ambani_280x210.jpgMukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani, who spent the last decade sowing the seeds of his consumer businesses, is now reaping the benefits. As investors begin to price in potential earnings from telecom and retail along with his mainstay, petrochemicals, India’s richest person has seen his net wealth rise by 24 percent to $47.3 billion on the 2018 Forbes India Rich List. He has also retained the No 1 rank over the past decade. In fact, he has managed to widen the lead between him and the others on the list. In 2017, the gap between No 1 and No 2 was $19 billion. In 2018, it is $26.3 billion.

A year and a half after Jio began charging for mobile services, it has become the third-largest provider, with 252.3 million subscribers. It has a 72 percent share for 4G data and had an Ebidta of ₹3,573 crore. Jio, with its superior data offering, is on track to capture a majority of the profit pie as Ambani muscles his way into India’s broadband market with the recent acquisition of Den Networks and Hathway Cable.

Ambani’s most understated success has been with retail. He is the country’s largest retailer by revenue, present in 5,800 cities and boasting 50 million customers. Revenue rose by 121 percent to ₹32,436 crore in the quarter ended September 2018.

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(This story appears in the 28 December, 2018 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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