I'm bullish, billion aspirations drive India: Mukesh Ambani

HT Correspondent

Mumbai, Feb. 11 -- Despite concerns about slowing economy, the nation's wealthiest man, Mukesh Ambani, is bullish on the India Story - and hinges his bet on the millions striving to move up in the economic pyramid.

"India has had some slow growth but I am really very optimistic on India," said Ambani told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "I'm very bullish on India, because it's really the aspirations of a billion people. And ours is a country where all the billion count. And they have aspirations.

"India is really a bottom-up story. It's not a top-down story," the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) told his celebrated interviewer, who, like him, has his roots in Mumbai.

Asia's second wealthiest man, Ambani, whose net worth is close to $21 billion according to Forbes magazine, cited that his confidence in the Indian growth story stemmed from the country's billion consumers moving to make their lives better.

Ambani, whose business spans petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecom and retail, also spoke about India as a land of opportunities. He talked about how his late father Dhirubhai Ambani started Reliance with $100 and then when he joined the firm in the 80s, the market value of the company was $30-40 million.

"In 30 years, the opportunities that were provided by this country have enabled us to create wealth for India. So, we've created a million millionaires just by investing in Reliance out of ordinary Indians. And that is the process of creating wealth for the country. Once you create opportunity, wealth comes," he said.

Ambani is also bullish on the global economic health, especially the United States. "Well, I'm more optimistic than most. And my view is that this year we will see the beginning of a recovery, particularly in the US," he said.

RIL, which has business interests and investments tied up in the US market, has reportedly put in at least $5.2 billion through joint ventures with Chevron, Carrizo Oil and Gas, Pioneer Natural Resources so far.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.