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Rising middle class is paying off

Asia's richest man has ambitions to take on Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. in India, where the power of the middle class is growing along with demand for e-commerce

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Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s debt-fueled bet on the rise of the Indian consumer is starting to pay off, with his retail and telecommunications businesses contributing an increasing share of revenue and profit to his $87 billion empire.

The two divisions accounted for a combined 23 per cent of revenue for the year ended March, up from 17 per cent in the previous year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That growth has come at the expense of the conglomerate’s energy-related arms, which have been the bedrock of Ambani’s business for more than a decade. Their revenue share dropped to 77 per cent from 83 percent, the data show.

Asia’s richest man has ambitions to take on Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. in India, where the power of the middle class is growing along with demand for e-commerce. Ambani launched the telecommunications business in 2016, spending $36 billion to roll out a 4G wireless network across India and luring millions of subscribers with free or cut-price data services. He’s now building on that business to create an online shopping platform, just as the US giants come up against constraints on foreign e-commerce activity in India.

First Published: Fri, April 19 2019. 17:48 IST
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