Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of local conglomerate Reliance (BSE: Reliance Industries Ltd.) on Wednesday toppled Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) founder Jack Ma as Asia’s richest man post Facebook’s USD 5.7 billion investment in Reliance’s digital arm Jio Platforms.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ambani, who is on the 17th position in the world’s 100 richest persons list, saw his personal wealth rise by USD 4.7 billion to USD 49.2 billion. The jump in his wealth puts Ambani ahead of Jack Ma by about USD 3.2 billion. Jack Ma’s net worth according to the index is USD 46 billion.
Reliance Industries has varied business interests that include energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail, and telecommunications.
On March 11, Jack Ma had donned the hat of being Asia’s richest man by replacing Ambani as the free fall of oil prices had eroded the latter’s net worth by USD 5.8 billion. On Tuesday, just a day before Ambani climbed on the top of the Asia’s richest person chart, his net worth had nosedived by USD 14 billion—the biggest such fall of an Asian billionaire—due to the eroding crude oil prices.
On Wednesday, Silicon Valley-based social media giant Facebook co-founded by the world’s fifth-richest person Mark Zuckerberg, made the largest ever foreign direct investment in an Indian technology company. According to the deal, Facebook would buy a 9.99% stake in Reliance’s subsidiary Jio Platforms.
As a result of the investment, Reliance’s stock ballooned by 10% on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
The deal includes Facebook’s chat platform WhatsApp to support Reliance’s e-commerce venture JioMart that connects small businesses to customers. Reliance said it aims to empower India’s 60 million micro, small, and medium businesses (SMBs), 120 million farmers, and 30 million small merchants.