Mukesh Ambani set to become Asia’s richest person

New Delhi: As he positions Reliance Industries to disrupt the e-commerce space in India, Mukesh Ambani is poised to overtake Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma to become Asia’s richest person.

Reliance Industries Chairman Ambani was estimated to be worth $44.3 billion on Friday with Reliance Industries Ltd. trading 1.7% higher, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The stock fetched Rs 1,100.65 as of 12.25 pm in Mumbai and is set for a record. Ma’s wealth stood at $44 billion at close of trade on Thursday in the US, where the company is listed.

Ambani has added $4 billion to his fortune this year as Reliance doubled its petrochemicals capacity and investors cheered the success of his disruptive telecom upstart Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. Then earlier this month, the tycoon unveiled plans to leverage his 215 million telecom subscribers to expand his e-commerce offerings, taking on the likes of Inc. and Walmart Inc. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Ma has lost $1.4 billion in 2018.

“We need to broaden our horizon of expectation with Reliance,” said Nitin Tiwari, a Mumbai-based analyst at Antique Stock Broking. “They are in for something really transformational.”

At this month’s annual shareholders’ meeting, he said Reliance saw its “biggest growth opportunity in creating a hybrid, online-to-offline new commerce platform,” involving the group’s Reliance Retail Ltd. and Reliance Jio businesses.

The latter will introduce a fiber-based broadband service across 1,100 Indian cities in August in what Mr Ambani said would be the biggest greenfield fixed-line roll-out anywhere in the world.

A spokesman for Reliance didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)