Mukesh D. Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg) 

India’s Richest Man Doesn’t Carry Cash Or A Credit Card

India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani doesn't carry cash or a credit along with him.

“From childhood, I’ve never carried money. I never carry cash in my pocket or own a credit card,” Ambani said addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2017 in New Delhi.

I always have someone else pay for me. That works.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries Ltd.

Ambani, who has a net worth of nearly $40 billion and owns India’s largest conglomerate, said that money has never meant much to him. “To me, resources only enable you to take risks,” he said. Ambani also has “always abhorred the labels and titles” that are used for him.

In his address, Ambani spoke about a number of topics ranging from his latest venture Reliance Jio to his expectation that India’s economy will triple in the coming years.

Here are highlights from his speech.

On Reliance Jio’s Disruption

Since its launch Reliance Jio has changed the telecom industry. Tarrifs have shrunk while hyper competition has triggered a consolidation of smaller players with their larger peers. Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, the largest telecom operator, had said that the industry has seen write-offs to the tune of $50 billion since Jio's launch.

Ambani agreed that Jio had caused a disruption but said that eventually it benefits the end-consumer which is the goal.

He added that Reliance Jio is running ahead of schedule when it comes to turning profitable. “You can see the trend. Watch the next few quarters,” he said.

On Going Digital

Ambani said that he expects India’s data infrastructure to surpass that of the U.S. by 2019. India's lack of digital infrastructure and older technology is a boon in disguise, according to him.

In the coming years, going digital will benefit India in the three areas where it is lagging – agriculture, education and healthcare.

Ambani said that the early adopters of the technological shift will be rewarded by creating “unprecedented societal value” and those who do not “will become irrelevant”.

On How He Chooses His Businesses

Ambani said his first criteria for entering a business is whether it will be problem solving.

On India’s Economy

India has the potential to triple its gross domestic product to $7 trillion from $2.5 trillion currently in the next ten years, Ambani said. He expects India to hit the $10 trillion mark by 2030, closing the gap between established economies like the U.S. and China.

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