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Tuesday, 15 February, 2000, 10:13 GMT
Indian IT entrepreneur 'among world's richest'

wipro website Azim Premji's company, Wipro, is among India's top 10


By Daniel Lak in Delhi

India's top information technology entrepreneur, Azim Premji, is now the fourth richest man in the world, according to calculations by one of India's leading business newspapers.

The Business Standard arrived at the result using the same standards set by the American magazine, Forbes, in its annual list of wealthy people.

The Business Standard says the soaring value of Indian information technology and media shares has more than doubled the personal worth of shareholdings by some of the country's top business people.

Dizzying growth

It's the latest development in recent months of dizzying growth in software.

azim premji Mr Azim Premji is now rated amongst the world's richest men
Just a few months ago, the Business Standard published the country's first-ever list of billionaires in terms of the Indian rupee.

Now it says those figures are already hugely out of date, thanks to soaring share values on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The chief beneficiary, according to the Standard, is Azim Premji, founder and chief shareholder in Wipro, India's leading information technology firm.

His 75% stake in the company has more than doubled in value this year.

In dollar terms, that's around $26bn, which would make him the world's fourth-richest businessman.

Forbes magazine's latest list of wealthy business people puts Mr Premji's worth at around $2bn, which given the unconvertability of the Indian rupee, might be slightly more accurate.

New records

But India's information technology sector is setting new records every day.

woman at computer New records are set all the time in the nformation technology sector
A leading software manufacturer's body this week predicted that the contribution of information technology to the national economy will grow by more than 60% in the next 12 months.

Also this week, the largest venture capital fund in North America has come to India and the World Bank has sent an emissary to look into ways to support Indian software development.

It is hard to find anyone who has a bad thing to say about the market.

But analysts are concerned that many firms are hugely overvalued in the current heated atmosphere on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
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See also:
21 Jun 99 |  The Economy
Internet helps make rich richer
24 Feb 99 |  Your Money
Bill Gates and his cash
24 Sep 99 |  Americas
Internet puts businessmen on rich list
08 Sep 98 |  Entertainment
Top 40 entertainment earners
22 Jun 98 |  The Economy
Gates tops rich list

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