The total wealth of this year's 20 richest Indians in the UAE list surpasses $50bn for the first time. It's an astonishing number - especially bearing in mind that several of them, such as Yusuffali MA, started out with virtually nothing. The Lulu Group founder was a virtually penniless man when he made his way to the UAE in 1973 on a small boat to work in his uncle's tiny distribution company. His company now has a turnover of $7.4bn and a workforce of 46,000.
Ravi Pillai, meanwhile, set up his first business aged just 14. His conglomerate now spans eight sectors from construction and infrastructure to retail, hospitality and healthcare. Rizwan Sajan’s success began in the 1990s, when he was forced to flee Kuwait amid the Iraqi invasion.
He was working for his uncle but later went out alone to establish a vast brokerage business buying and selling building materials. Sunny Varkey’s parents were both teachers who travelled to Dubai in 1959 seeking a better life. Grocery store magnate Dr Dhananjay Datar says he walking barefoot to school, and does not recall ever having breakfast while growing up.
Read through the list and you’ll also see that these men are running old-school industries. Of course, many of them, such as Lulu Group, have diversified into new high-tech segments, but the bedrock for their success is still founded, not on distant algorithms or speculative trades, but on real people and actual things.
But who are the other names on the list and how did they make all that money? Shayan Shakeel and Shruthi Nair run through the names and the numbers.
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(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)