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Dhirubhai Ambani


 
 

  Name Dhirubhai Ambani

  Born December 28, 1932(1932-12-28) Chorwad, Gujarat, India

  Died July 6, 2002 (aged 69) Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

  Occupation Industrialist/Entrepreneur

  Website www.ril.com

  Dhirubhai Ambani, also known as Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani , Indian business tycoon who founded Reliance Industries in Mumbai with his cousin.  

  Dhirubhai Ambani - Entrepreneur who built up the only Indian business to feature in the Forbes 500 One of India’s most dynamic and flamboyant entrepreneurs, Dhirubhai Ambani was head of the multibillion-dollar Reliance group of industries with extensive interests in textiles, petrochemicals, energy and telecommunications. Combining a keen sense of business with a razor-sharp ability to negotiate his way through the labyrinth of the Indian political establishment, Ambani single-handedly built a business empire that in just three decades outgrew corporate houses such as the Tatas and Birlas which had dominated the country’s industrial landscape for nearly a century.  

  Reliance is the only Indian private company to make the Fortune 500 list of the world’s largest corporations, and Ambani was listed by Forbes as the 138th richest person in the world this year.  

  Dhirubhai H Ambani rose from humble beginnings to become chairman of India's largest private sector company. In one of his more candid moments, the otherwise reticent tycoon summed up the secret of his remarkable success story.  

 
Early Life
 

  Dhirubhai born on 28 December 1932 at Kukaswada near Chorwad, Junagadh district (now the state of Gujarat, India) to Hirachand Gordhandhas Ambani and Jamanaben in a Modh family of modest means. Hirachand Gordhandhas Ambani was a village school teacher with little earning. But his wife, Jamanaben knew how to stretch every paisa in a long way. Hirachand and Jamanaben had two daughters - Trilochanaben and Jasuben and three sons - Ramnikbhai, Dhirubhai and Natubhai. Dhirubhai was the second son. Dhirubhai was precocious and highly intelligent and also as highly impatient of the oppressive grinding mill of the school classroom. He chose works which uses his physical ability to the maximum rather than mugging up school lessons. When Jamanaben once asked Dhirubhai and Ramnikbhai to help his father by earning money. He angrily replied "Why do you keep screaming for money? I will make heaps of money one day". During weekends, he began setting up onion/potato fries stall at village fairs and made extra money which he gave to his mother.  

  First Job  

 
When he was 16 years old, he moved to Aden, Yemen. He worked with A. Besse & Co. for a salary of Rs.300 (Present Day $6.49). Two years later, A. Besse & Co. became the distributors for Shell products, and Dhirubhai was promoted to manage the company’s filling station at the port of Aden. He was married to Kokilaben and had 2 sons, Mukesh, Anil and two daughters, Nina Kothari, Deepti Salgaonkar. He also worked in Dubai for some time during his early years.  
During those days, the Yemini Rial was made of pure silver coins and was in much demand at the London Bullion Exchange. Young Dhirubhai bought the Rials, melted them into pure silver and sold it to the bullion traders in London. During the latter part of his life, while talking to reporters, it is believed that he said “The margins were small but it was money for jam. After three months, it was stopped. But I made a few lakhs. In short, I was a manipulator. A very good manipulator. But I don’t believe in not taking opportunities.
 
  First company  

 
He dreamt big even as a small boy when he used to sell hot snacks to pilgrims outside a temple in his native village. And he did not stop dreaming big even when he went to Aden as a petrol pump attendant at the age of 17 to help support his family. It was this desire to make it big in life which prompted his return to India in 1958. Ambani came to Bombay and started his first company, Reliance Commercial Corporation, a commodity trading and export house.  
Dhirubhai Ambani returned to India after 10 years and found Reliance Commercial Company with a capital of Rs.15000/- in Masjid Bunder in Mumbai in a 350 Sqft. space with one telephone, one table, three chairs and with a business mission of importing polyester yarn and exporting spices. He went on to establish Reliance Textiles in 1964 under the brand name “Vimal” and the World Bank applauded the brand as the best Polyester Cloth. Perceiving success, Dhirubhai established Reliance Industries Ltd in 1970s.
 
  Initial Public Offering  

  Dhirubhai Ambani is credited with starting the equity cult in India. More than 58,000 investors from various parts of India subscribed to Reliance's IPO in 1977. Dhirubhai was able to convince people of rural Gujarat that being shareholders of his company will only bring returns to their investment.  

  Diversification  

 
In 1982 Ambani began the process of backward integration, setting up a plant to manufacture polyester filament yarn. He subsequently diversified into chemicals, gas, petrochemicals, plastics, power and telecom services.  
The company as a whole was described by the BBC as "a business empire with an estimated annual turnover of $12bn, and an 85,000-strong workforce".  
The final phase of Reliance’s diversification occurred in the 1990s when the company turned aggressively towards petrochemicals and telecommunications. But, like most business people, Ambani had rivals, the most bitter of whom was Nusli Wadia, of Bombay Dyeing, a patrician entrepreneur whose company was well established in the textile industry.
 

  Ambani was also anxious to encourage the spread of information technology among India’s poor. Through Reliance Industries he arranged computer education and training for thousands of students in schools in Bombay. “You are getting an opportunity. Make the best use of it,” he told children in December during one of his last public speeches. “Be daring. Think big. You can be the best. If you believe in this, you will be the best.”

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