Indian billionaires – Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani have been hogging the limelight amid farmers’ protests in the capital New Delhi. And with the global economy into a slump, billionaires across the world, including India’s Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, have witnessed their wealth grow by leaps and bounds.
Founder and chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani’s net worth is $75.8 billion as of December 16, making him the 11th richest man in the world, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
India’s second-richest businessman, Gautam Adani of the Adani Group, is the 40th wealthy man in the world with a net income of $32.5 billion.
Mukesh Ambani has carried forward the legacy of his father, late Dhirubhai Ambani, who founded Reliance in 1966 as a small textile industry. But Adani’s is a story of rags to riches, that too in a few years.
A college drop-out, Adani was the son of a textile business owner and had come to Mumbai in the 1980s to make money in the diamond business. Later, he moved to his home state Gujarat and helped his brother run his business of plastic imports.
In 1988, he set up his trading company Adani Enterprises Limited. In the 1990s, he started operating Mundra Port, off the coast of the Arabian Sea. India’s largest private facility, Mundra Port handles 264 million tons of freight a year.
From there on, Adani expanded his business into the electricity, gas, real estate sectors. With this, he has become the country’s biggest private power producer. He is also leading in coal mining, the business which he has expanded abroad as well.
However, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Adani has added $21.1 billion to his net worth, which is more than Ambani’s gain this year. Till 2016, as per Forbes, Adani’s net worth was $3.5 billion.
While Mukesh Ambani’s growth trajectory can be mapped for this decade, when he remained the richest man in the country, the same can’t be said about Adani who has gained a lot in less time.
Reports suggest he is set to become the leader in the country’s infrastructure industry with plans to spend Rs 500 billion ($6.8 billion) over the next five years.
Media reports have also suggested that Adani has a special talent for getting officials to make policies that suit his business. One such example is Adani winning bids to operate six regional airports after the federal government changed rules of letting those with no experience in running airports to take part in the bidding process.
The company is set to invest Rs 350 billion in airports. It has acquired the Mumbai airport and once everything is finalized, he will become the country’s biggest airport operator.