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Adani Beats Ambani to Become Richest Person in Asia

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has become the richest person in Asia, leaving Mukesh Ambani behind. According to estimates, the chairperson of Adani Group is now worth 90 billion USD, while the biggest shareholder of Reliance Industries stands at 89 billion USD.

Adani’s net worth in 2021 was around 50 billion USD, and it technically doubled this year. On the other hand, Ambani’s net worth was nearly 85 billion USD, and it rose only by 6.5%. Moreover, Reliance’s shares fell by 4.2% last year and further fell by 2.3% in 2022.

What Does Richest Person in Asia Do?

The newest richest person in Asia, aged 59, is a college dropout who started exporting some commodities in 1988. However, his company diversified into a huge import/export business with its own port at Mundra in 1990. By 2008, he was already on the list of the World’s Billionaires with a net worth of more than 9 billion USD.

Now Adani Group is an assortment of businesses ranging from fossil fuel, edible oil and foods, power generation, gas, ports and SEZ, green energy, to electricity transmission. The group has listed 6 publicly traded companies in India. Adani Green Energy was reportedly a key player last year, with shares soaring as high as 77%.

Adani vs Ambani

The former richest person in Asia suffered a minor setback which allowed Adani to race through. Ambani’s business is also highly diversified, including oil, retail, petrochemicals, and India’s biggest telecom business. 

Most of Reliance’s loss came when its 15 Billion USD deal broke down with Saudi Aramco last year. According to reports, Aramco signed a non-binding agreement in 2019 to buy a 20% stake in Reliance’s oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business. However, the negotiations broke down as companies decided to re-evaluate the deal. It caused Reliance’s stock to plummet.

Simultaneously, Adani Group enjoyed a meteoric rise in the last 12 months. In December 2021, Adani Green Energy signed the world’s largest power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to supply 4667 MW of renewable energy by 2030.

Interestingly, Gautam Adani became the richest person in Asia while Adani Group was involved in several controversies. The giant is facing heavy backlash in Australia, where it is trying to set up the biggest coal mine in the country’s history. Mining and fossil fuel burning are the major causes of climate change. Activists in Australia leading the #StopAdani campaign have been protesting against establishing the Adani Carmichael mine. 

As per their official website, Adani’s lucrative business will destroy the ancestral lands and waters of the Wangan and Jagalingou people. Moreover, it will drain 270 billion litres of Queenland’s groundwater; risk damaging Great Artisan Basin aquifers, and add 4.6 billion tons of carbon to the Australian atmosphere.

The group is also under investigation by the federal environment department for unlawfully clearing the habitat of Koalas. It was the 7th case of such nature for Adani. The giant was also fined 25,000 USD in December 2021 for breaching Species Management Plan by clearing a wildlife habitat without conducting a pre-clearance land survey.

Besides posing risks to the environment, aboriginals, and wildlife, a joint report by human rights groups found Adani Group involved in “business transactions” with the Myanmar military. The junta has been international backlash for arresting democratic leaders and growing violence in Myanmar.

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