Forbes Asia October 2020

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

United States
Forbes Media LLC
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min
fascinating parallels

This issue features two of our most important rich lists of the year—the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans and India’s 100 Richest lists, representing the richest members of the world’s largest economy and the world’s fifth-largest by nominal GDP. Some fascinating parallels exist between these two lists and the respective countries. The lists have both gotten more exclusive over the years. For each, a net worth of at least $1 billion is needed for membership (caveat: the India list includes family fortunes, the U.S. only individual wealth). That $1 billion hurdle started for the Forbes 400 in 2006, with India’s 100 Richest following suit in 2014. Both countries are also known for their tech industries, with many at the top of either list gaining wealth from entrepreneurship in the tech sector. Yet on…

3 min
finding your 1,000x ceo

This issue features America’s richest persons, and no surprise, Jeff Bezos is the richest in the U.S.—and the world. Amazon has gone orbital since first raising capital in 1994. Founder Bezos had asked 22 friends and family members to put in $50,000 each, for a total of $1.1 million, giving Amazon a valuation of $6 million. An investor and later board member, Tom Alberg, was alarmed at the audacity of Bezos keeping 80% of his startup. But Alberg later said he invested anyway because he liked Bezos’s laser focus. Good thing. Today Amazon is worth $1.65 trillion. Bezos has multiplied Amazon’s value by 275,000 times since that first investment. Bezos is surely the modern world’s champion wealth creator. But even CEOs who’ve grown value by 1,000 times are exceptionally rare. I…

7 min
a vial business

At the height of Italy’s lockdown in April factories were shuttered across the country. But in Piombino Dese, a small town about 40 kilometers outside of Venice, the hulking glasscutting machines at the Stevanato Group kept whirring along, spitting out millions of ampoules and syringes. Hundreds of employees donned face masks to work around the clock in three daily shifts, seven days a week—making everything from insulin pen cartridges to miniature glass barrels and—most pressingly—millions of tiny sterile vials, each one containing less than 30 milliliters, that one day will house doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. “Every Saturday and Sunday, even on Easter, I went to work alongside my employees to show that we were in the trenches as well,” says Franco Stevanato, the 46-year-old CEO of the group and grandson…

10 min
shot at success

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out earlier this year, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker by number of doses produced and sold, weighed the options: “Do absolutely nothing and watch how it unfolds, or take the risk and become a front-runner.” The 39-year-old chose the latter and went on a dealmaking frenzy, which has put the privately held firm in the forefront of the global race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, he says in a telephone interview in late September from the company’s Pune headquarters, the latest of two interviews for this article. His father Cyrus Poonawalla, worth $11.5 billion, founded the Serum Institute in 1966 and remains its chairman. “It’s a huge personal risk I am taking,” says Poonawalla. The firm, he says,…

3 min
rising above adversity

India has been hit hard by Covid-19, with more than 6 million cases—the world’s second-highest count—and reported a 24% plunge in economic growth for the quarter ending June. Despite this adversity, half of the nation’s 100 richest saw gains, rising a collective 14% to $517.5 billion even as the benchmark BSE Sensex remained flat from a year ago. More than half of that increase can be ascribed to one individual: Mukesh Ambani, at No. 1 for the 13th year, who added $37.3 billion to his fortune—a rise of 73%—to a net worth of $88.7 billion. Shares of his Reliance Industries soared when, amid the nation’s lockdown, Ambani raised more than $20 billion for Jio Platforms, Reliance’s fast-growing digital arm, from a string of marquee investors that included Facebook and Google. Investors…

1 min
out in the open

A U.K. High Court ruling in June revealed for the first time a dispute in the Hinduja family—between patriarch Srichand Hinduja and his three younger brothers Ashok, Gopichand and Prakash. The ruling confirmed that Srichand’s younger daughter Vinoo could represent her father in legal matters. One disagreement is reportedly about Srichand’s claim that he alone owns S.P. Hinduja Banque Privée—a small Geneva-based private bank chaired by his older daughter Shanu. Media reports on the dispute cite a 2014 letter signed by the four siblings declaring joint ownership of all Hinduja group assets—including the bank. Srichand, represented by Vinoo, is reportedly arguing the letter has no legal effect. After the June ruling, the three brothers said in an emailed statement that they would defend their ownership claims, and that the litigation would not…