In a sector like real estate, notorious for its choppiness and unpredictability, beating slowdowns and remaining on the growth path over decades is a tough ask. But Jitu Virwani, 50, the Bengaluru-based billionaire, has proved naysayers wrong over and over again with some smart thinking and an innovative approach. Assiduously nurturing relationships and with an eye towards scale and quality, Virwani’s Embassy Group is today one of the foremost names in the office space segment, and is now looking at expanding its horizons to industrial parks and increasing its presence in the residential properties space.
In a sense, Virwani is the quintessential entrepreneur, restless to do things differently even in the wake of challenging circumstances. From the manner in which he convinced his father to allow him to use the Embassy name and grow the brand in his own way to ensuring top-class quality in his office parks, Virwani has traversed a good distance as an entrepreneur. He has forged strong bonds with partners and lenders alike, thanks to his eye for spotting trends early. As private equity firm Blackstone’s Managing Director Tuhin Parikh says, Virwani “understands risk well and knows how much risk he should be taking”. In the business of real estate, this is an invaluable attribute.
Virwani’s story is a part of our annual real estate special issue, which aims to bring you various aspects of a sector which is almost always the subject of animated discussion. Whether it is the slowing demand for homes or the establishment of a new regulatory regime, the Indian realty sector is high on public consciousness. In this issue, helmed by Senior Associate Editor Pravin Palande and Senior Assistant Editor Samar Srivastava, we also bring you, among other things, a story on how some intelligent Chennai developers like Akshaya are seeking to beat the slowdown in that market. Oberoi Realty’s Vikas Oberoi also shares his views on the new regulatory regime in the sector and how it could impact consumers.
Another major offering in this issue is the Forbes
listing of Asia’s Power Businesswomen of 2016, a stellar lineup of 50 leading businesswomen who have shown the way through their leadership and innovation. This year’s list has as many as 27 newcomers, and eight Indians on it. Reliance Foundation Founder and Chairperson Nita Ambani debuts on the list this year, with State Bank of India Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, Mu Sigma CEO Ambiga Dhiraj, Welspun India CEO Dipali Goenka, Lupin CEO Vinita Gupta, ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, VLCC Health Care founder Vandana Luthra and Biocon Chairperson and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw being the other power businesswomen from India.
Editor, Forbes India
(This story appears in the 13 May, 2016 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)