ENTREPRENUERS of Asian origin continue to light up an iridescent path when
it comes to wealth creation, not just for themselves but for the country at large– creating billions at home and abroad.
If anyone needed a post-Brexit strategy boosting the nation’s economic profile, they would do well to turn to some of best performers in this year’s Eastern Eye Asian Rich List (ARL).
In the country’s only detailed non-academic examination of Asian wealth in
Britain, we can exclusively reveal that the 101 top Asian business men and
women took their estimated total wealth to a jaw-dropping £69.9 billion – up by almost £15bn on last year.
The much-anticipated ARL, produced by Eastern Eye and this paper’s publisher, the Asian Media & Marketing Group (AMG), will be exclusively unveiled at the 17th annual Asian Business Awards on Friday (17) in London.
The awards will recognise significant achievements in virtually every sector of
the British economy, and be a glittering occasion when the community comes
together to celebrate business and wealth creation.
This year, one of Britain’s most pivotal figures in any post-Brexit world, Sadiq
Khan, the mayor of London, will as chief guest address hundreds of tycoons, corporate CEOs, politicians and other dignitaries at the high-profile national event, which has a prime audience of top movers and shakers numbering more than 800.
As the country shuffles uneasily towards the exit door of the European Union, there is uncertainty and trepidation in many parts of the UK economy, but Asian business has rarely been in such rude health– as Asian Rich List reveals – and indicates a strategy for a post-Brexit Britain.
Nearly all the top performing entrepreneurs in the list are global and outward looking, and seek to harness the power of technology with the belief in breaking down barriers and finding new markets –wherever they are in the world.
All the big names have made money this year as the list shows – and none
more so then Lakshmi Mittal.
Once Britain’s richest man full stop –the Indian-born London-based steel tycoon, who owns ArcelorMittal, has more than doubled his wealth in just 12 months – taking his total wealth to £12.6bn – a rise of 97 per cent on his 2016 figure.
But Mittal isn’t number one on the list profiling 101 of the country’s richest people – that accolade goes to the Hindujas.
With interests spanning the globe and household brand names such as Gulf Oil, Ashok Leyland and IndusInd, the first family of Asian business in the UK has managed to increase its wealth by £2.5bn in just 12 months to a staggering £19bn.
The Hindujas’ bank, IndusInd, an Indian High Street powerhouse consumer and business bank, has seen quarterly growth of 28 per cent over the year. Gopi, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group, told the ARL in a rare interview that the business has always adhered to his late father’s central philosophy, “act local, think global”.
The family were once big investors in Iran but following the revolution there in 1979, they began to diversify and increase their business interests around the world – and were among the earliest purchasers of an apartment in Trump Towers in New York, not long after its completion in 1983.
In the interview, Prakash Hinduja recounts how he predicted Donald Trump would win and told him personally last October when Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton was riding high in the polls. Prakash reminded the new president at the inauguration ball on January 20 this year – “how could he (Trump) forget”, he told the ARL.
But it isn’t just established business families like the Hindujas and Mittals who have shown the way forward Mahmud Kamani represents a new breed of entrepreneur who has used technology to startling effect. His online fashion chain, boohoo.com, has revolutionised shopping among a key demographic
of teenagers and his success over the last 12 months has led to a doubling of his fortune to an incredible £800m – not bad for a man who started his working life on market stalls with his dad.
Another technology disrupter is Rishi Khosla. He has founded and heads up a new “challenger bank”, OakNorth, which uses the power of the internet to bank deposits while lending to businesses that do not have collateral in the form of property– a huge issue for thriving companies that don’t traditionally have many or fixed assets (such as those operating in the online sector).
His bank started operations in 2015 and has already exceeded its early targets; previous deals have seen Khosla amass a tidy £300m fortune.
But he is not the highest new name on the list– that accolade goes to brothers Ramesh and Bhupendra Kansagra, who are the highest new entry at number 19 with an estimated wealth of £500m.
The London-based brothers are one of the largest petroleum retailers in Nigeria and have interests in shipping, real estate and mining, largely in
east and west Africa.
Traditional sectors such as pharmacy, wholesaling and hotels continue to provide a hardcore of entrepreneurs who quietly and effectively go about their business, creating wealth, hiring people and bringing profits and kudos to Britain.
Jasminder Singh is the man behind the Edwardian group of hotels and a new structure in one of the most iconic locations – anywhere in the world.
He is building a £300m hotel in Leicester Square– one that will be eight stories high and six floors underneath ground level. There will be a new cinema, rooftop spa and 350 bedrooms.
At a special ‘bottoming out ceremony’ where guests were taken to the depths of the structure, Singh’s commercial development director at Edwardian declared: “For Jasminder, it was a way for him to give back to London because of everything London has done for us – and we have been in London for 40 years.”
He made the pronouncement as Jasminder’s young grandchildren attended the ceremony.
Shailesh Solanki, executive editor of AMG, said: “The achievement of the entrepreneurs on the Asian Rich List is truly inspiring and humbling.
“Many came to the UK with very little and worked extremely hard to make their fortunes.
“They have been great for Britain and Britain has welcomed and nurtured them – they are tremendous examples of what immigrants can do for a country if they are free to live and work as they please.
“They bring new ideas, a studious work ethic, determination and are not afraid of taking risks.
“These entrepreneurs in the ARL show us a way, a path, and we must embrace a spirit of openness, free of prejudice and shorn of all past colonial
memories to forge new and exciting global economic possibilities in a post-Brexit world.”
To get a copy of the Asian Rich List 2016, call Saurin Shah on 0207 654 7737 2 Lakshmi Mittal