ad info

 > magazine
 web features
 magazine archive
 customer service
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
TIME Europe
Asiaweek Services
Contact Asiaweek
About Asiaweek
Media Kit
Get up to 3 months of Asiaweek free when you subscribe online!


Spreading the Wealth
India's old and new economies have sired billionaires and millionaires galore — some of them based at home, others living overseas, some international figures and others (so far) not well known outside the country. Here is a selection of some of the principal ones, based on publicly available information. There are many more whose wealth is privately held and not easily calculated.

Clicking to Success: High-tech plus economic reforms equal an Indian business boom

Azim Hashim Premji, 54
Chairman of Wipro Group, mostly information technology.
Estimated net worth: $9.4 billion. Wipro was a vegetable-oil business when Premji took it over in the 1970s. He has built it into one of India's most formidable IT giants, providing software, hardware and software services around the world. Premji is now based in Bangalore. His worth is calculated according to the price of Wipro stock, of which he owns 75%. At one time, before the decline in the price of IT shares, his wealth was put at $35 billion.

Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, 45
Founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks, maker of optical networking software and hardware. Est. net worth: $4 billion. Deshpande, who was born and initially educated in India, went to the U.S. in the 1980s to study. He founded Cascade Communications, which he sold for $3.7 billion in 1998. Sycamore Networks markets optical networking products that enable network service providers to upgrade their existing fiber-optic networks to offer more bandwidth. Deshpande is based in Massachusetts.

Lakshmi NiWas Mittal, 50
Chief of Ispat International, steel production. Est. net worth: $1.9 billion.
London-based Mittal heads one of the world's biggest steel corporations. After starting in India, where his father owned a steel mill, he purchased his first plant, in Indonesia, in 1971. The company now owns mills across the world and has an annual production of about 20 million tons a year.

Shiv Nadar, 53
Chief of HCL Group, an IT company. Est. net worth: $1.2 billion. Nadar was an engineer when, in the 1970s, he and friends started HCL to manufacture office equipment. In the 1980s, it moved up to computers. The company has subsidiaries in Singapore and the U.S. HCL also provides software and networking solutions.

Dhirubhai Ambani, 66
Chairman of Reliance Group. Producer of textiles and petrochemicals. Est. net worth: $1.2 billion. A self-made man, Ambani built a textile business into a huge petrochemicals giant in 30 years of sheer effort. Reliance is the largest company in the private sector by turnover and number of employees. It is backed by millions of small-time investors. A movement in its stock price generally affects the entire market.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, 31
Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, diversified interests. Est. net worth: $1.1 billion.
The young Birla was thrust into the leadership of this family-owned conglomerate when his father died three years ago. Since then he has begun a modernization program of the venerable company, which has a vast range of manufacturing interests, some of them in Southeast Asia. They include textiles, chemicals, cement, iron and motor vehicles.

Write to Asiaweek at

This edition's table of contents | Home


Quick Scroll: More stories from Asiaweek, TIME and CNN


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?


COVER: Giant on the Move
An emerging Asian superpower
On the Move: The people who are reshaping the nation
Worth Knowing: People with a role to play as India grows
The Economy: Risk-takers and innovators take center-stage
Wealth: The big six
Question Time: An interview with Azim Hashim Premji
Personally Speaking: Distinguished Indians scan the way ahead
The Military: Adding muscle in a bid for a regional role
The Media: Tough competition in a free and lively environment
Mass Culture: From beauty to fashion, India sets the pace

COVER: Playing the Modern Game
Improve your golf game with better technology

Face Off: Audio recorders

Healthcare: Take care on websites for the unwell

Net Gains: Be wary of stock tips in chat rooms

E-vesting: The high cost of online trading

Asiaweek/CNN Tech Index: The Asiaweek/CNN basket of 40 companies

B2B: Learning the job online

Wired Exec: A Manila publisher at work and play

Cutting Edge: Point, shoot and print — digitally

Troops: Why America may have to pull its soldiers out of Asia

Pyongyang: Is there substance behind its new, improved style?

Letters & Comment: UMNO on the changes within


ASEAN: North Korea steals the limelight at the Bangkok meeting
Agreement: Rail uniting the Koreas
Interview: With East Timor's Gusmao and Ramos-Horta

INDONESIA: Who bombed the Philippine ambassador?

THAILAND: The big parties are gearing up for the general election
Interview: Chalerm on the NAP's future prospects

Scandals: Imelda is caught with her hand in the cookie jar

KASHMIR: A ceasefire brings hopes of peace — maybe

Newsmakers: Reading Anson Chan's moves

Viewpoint: Time to re-examine sanctions on Myanmar

Performance: Is Hong Kong's GEM the worst stock exchange?
Competition: How Asia's other second-boards are doing

Investing: Stay the course in telecommunications and electronics

Insurance: Agents scramble to sell the mainland peace of mind
Charge: Card issuers expect China's consumers to embrace credit

Business Buzz: The teetering house of Hyundai

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.