Despite stagnation in economic growth due to the global pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the number of billionaires worldwide continued to grow. According to Forbes’ list of 2022 billionaires, the United States tops the list with 735 billionaires, followed by China with 539 billionaires. In the last couple years, the number of billionaires in the two countries has increased respectively. India, ranking third in this global list, currently has 166 billionaires in 2022, which was 140 in 2021. Since the beginning of the entrepreneurial tradition in the early 20th century, several successful entrepreneurs have emerged in India. Some of them have also been globally recognized of which few have inherited their fortune while others are self-made. In today’s video, we will tell you about the top 5 billionaires of India.
5. Radha Kishan Damani
Ranked 5th on the list of Indian billionaires and with a networth of $20 billion Radha Kishan Damani is the founder of India’s most popular super shop chain DMart. The 67-year-old self-made billionaire, known as Retail King, was born in 1954 in Mumbai, India to a lower-middle-class Marwari family. His father was a stockbroker by profession. After graduating from a school in Mumbai, Radha Kishan Damani enrolled in B.Com at the University of Mumbai. However, due to reluctance in academic studies, he dropped out after only a year.
Radha Kishan Damani started his career in the ball-bearing business. But after his father’s death, he started working as a stockbroker like his father. However, at the age of 32, realizing that investing in stocks is more successful than stockbroking, Radha Kishan Damani started investing in stocks in 1986. Following the footsteps of former Indian stockbroker Manu Manek, Damani achieved some success in the stock market in a short time by short selling. But in 1992 when the Harshad Mehta scam was exposed and the stock market was in turmoil, Damani, like many others, almost went bankrupt.
In 1999, he bought a co-operative department store called Apna Bazaar. Unfortunately, dissatisfied with the store’s business plan, he founded Avenue Supermarts in 2002, inspired by the American supermarket chain Walmart. Under Avenue Supermarts, Damani founded his first retail supermarket chain, Dmart. At present, Dmart has 263 outlets in 238 locations across 11 states in India. According to a Forbes source, Damani has a stake in Avenue Supermarket Chain as well as The United Breweries, Food & Inns Ltd, BF Utilities, Prozone Inty Properties, and Astra Microwave products.
4. Cyrus Poonawalla
Cyrus Poonawalla is the 4th richest Indian billionaire in 2022 and the richest billionaire in the global healthcare sector. With a net worth of USD 24.3 billion, Punawala ranks 56th on Forbes’ list of World’s Billionaires. Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman and Managing Director of Cyrus Poonawalla Group, was born in 1941 in Pune, and his success came through making India self-sufficient in vaccine production. At the age of 20, Poonawalla planned to start a racing car company, but as commercial production required a large amount of investment he had to drop the idea.
In 1962, he enrolled at the Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce in India, and after graduation in 1966, he established the Serum Institute of India to produce vaccines. In those days, vaccines had to be imported for India’s large population at a high cost. By 1984, the Serum Institute of India had become the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer with a market share of at least 60% of the global market, supplying vaccines in 150 countries around the world. For his immense contribution to the healthcare sector Cyrus Poonawalla is also known as the Vaccine King.
Besides pharmaceuticals, his business is spread across a wide range of other fields, including biotechnology, finance, clean energy, aviation, hospitality, and real estate. According to BBC, during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, The Serum Institute of India manufactured 250 million doses of Covishield vaccines per month. Which has played a vital role in the growth of his wealth and making him wealthier.
3. Shiv Nadar
Indian billionaire and philanthropist Shiv Nadar is the founder, chairman, and strategic advisor of Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL Technologies), India’s third-largest IT services company. The 76-year-old IT pioneer has a net worth of USD 28.7 billion and is ranked 47th on Forbes’ list of billionaires.
Shiv Nadar was born in 1945 in Tamil Nadu, India. After graduating in EEE from PSG College of Technology, Shiv Nader started his career at the College of Engineering Pune (COEP). In 1975, Shiv Nadar and some of his friends set up a company called “Microcomp Limited” in Nadar’s garage to manufacture several types of equipment, such as tele-digital calculators. Shiv Nader was the major shareholder of this company. They aimed to build a computer manufacturing company in Nadar’s garage. At that time there were only 250 computers in India. But HCL was able to construct their first personal computer in Nader’s garage in 1976.
HCL decided to expand its business internationally in 1979. Over time, PCs, computer hardware, the UNIX-based operating system, and the first relational database management system were added to the company’s product portfolio. The company introduced India’s first personal computer, HCL Workhorse, in 1983. According to Forbes, HCL Technologies, currently employing 169,000 people in 50 countries around the world, has become a USD 8.3 billion-worth company.
2. Gautam Adani
Gautam Adani, the 59-year-old Indian billionaire, was born in 1962 to a business family in Ahmedabad, India. According to Forbes’ list of billionaires, with a net worth of USD 90 billion. Gautam Adani, widely known as the Ports Tycoon, is India’s 2nd richest man and the 11th richest billionaire in the world. Growing up in Ahmedabad, Adani completed his secondary and higher secondary education from there and enrolled in B.Com at Gujarat University.
Adani was passionate about business but had no interest in his father’s textile business. 1976 he moved to Mumbai to learn business tactics and strategy. There he worked as a diamond sorter in various diamond brokerage firms for several years before setting up his own diamond brokerage firm in Zaveri Bazaar. In 1981 Adani returned to Ahmedabad to support his brother’s business. There in Ahmedabad, realizing the potential of PVC in the local market Adani decided to import PVC commercially.
In 1988 he founded Adani Group, a multinational conglomerate operating mainly in India, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Australia. With a market cap of USD 130.99 billion, Adani group has India’s largest private port and India’s largest power plant operating globally through a total of six publicly traded companies, including Adani Power Plant and Adani Solar.
1. Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, is currently the richest person in India. According to Forbes, Mukesh Ambani is ranked 1st among Asian billionaires and 10th in the world ranking of billionaires.
The 64-year-old businessman inherited the fortune from his father Late Dhirubhai Ambani. His assets and businesses are now valued at a total of USD 90.7 billion and he has been the richest man in India for the last 10 years. Mukesh Ambani, born in 1957 in Aden, Yemen is the 1st of 4 children of Dhirubhai and Kokilaben Ambani. Growing up in Mumbai, Ambani graduated in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology and enrolled for MBA at Stanford University. Later, in 1980, Mukesh returned to India to help his father Dhirubhai to form the Reliance Group.
In 1981, he took over the yarn manufacturing project of Reliance Industries Limited. Reliance is a Mumbai-based private Indian multinational conglomerate whose various businesses include energy, petrochemicals, natural gas, retail, telecommunications, mass media, and textiles. In 2002, after the death of Dhirubhai Ambani, the property was divided between Mukesh and his brother. Under the banner of Reliance Group, Mukesh got control of gas, oil, and petrochemical operations under Reliance India Limited. Later, he also started Reliance Infocomm Limited, which was rebranded as Reliance Communications. At present, Reliance Industries Limited has a net worth of about USD 220 billion.