Guwahati: At a time when India is headed towards its worst recession in recent memory, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has overtaken Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp. and France's Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the wealthiest woman, to reach the No. 9 spot in the list of the wealthiest men and women in the world.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ambani, who owns 42 percent of Reliance, has benefited from a flurry of investment into the company's digital unit, Jio Platforms Ltd. According to reports, the shares of the conglomerate have doubled from a low in March. Conversely, many billionaires on the list of the "world's wealthiest men" have incurred losses amid the pandemic that has so far affected over 9 million people in countries across the world.
Although the Indian economy has been feeling the ill-effects of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown that kept 1.3 billion Indians indoors, Ambani's Jio has continued to prosper. Amid the rising fortunes of Jio, Ambani's personal wealth has also continued to rise at a dramatic rate, said Jayati Ghosh, chair of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. However, a media representative for Reliance declined to make a comment.
Ambani's rising fortune at a time when the entire nation's economy has been crippled shows the massive divide that separates the uber-rich from the BPL-level poor. According to statistics, the top 10% of the rich list account for more than three-quarters of the total wealth in the country.
It needs mention here that a June report by Sanford C. Bernstein predicted that Jio is likely to capture 48 per cent of India's mobile subscriber market share by 2025.
According to Forbes' Real Time Billionaires list Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($160.1 B) continues to occupy the top spot, and is followed by Bill Gates ($108.6 B) on the list.