Dhirubhai Ambani had just a fiery instinct, a futuristic view, an unyielding determination, and a burning ambition when he set out to work his way through the lanes of Bombay in 1958. His sweeping ambition, limitless energy, and never-say-die spirit drove him through all the difficulties to emerge as India’s business mogul, from spice dealer to cloth merchant to textile maker. He founded and created the framework for Reliance Industries, which has grown to become one of India’s greatest conglomerates. Reliance Industries made history in the Indian industry thanks to his futuristic vision and great commercial acumen, a legacy that will serve as an inspiration for future generations! Dhirubhai Ambani’s biography is unquestionably a rags to riches tale, as he rose from humble beginnings to become one of India’s industrial behemoths. His business abilities were in stark contrast to those of his competitors, as he offered his dealers a new deal: ‘profit we share, losses are mine.’ He changed his workers from clay to steel and helped them reach the peak of success thanks to his energy, bonhomie, and invincible attitude of conquering the universe. Continue reading to learn more about his life and career.
Childhood and Adolescence
Dihrubhai Ambani was born into a Modh baniya family in the village of Chorwad in the district of Junagarh to Hirachand Govardhandas Ambani and Jamanaben. His father was a schoolteacher, while his mother was a stay-at-home mom.
He was raised in a modest environment and was conscious of the family’s insufficiencies as a result of his father’s meager salary and huge expenses from an early age.
He was chosen General Secretary of the Junagarh State Union while still a student in Junagarh. He defied the Nawab, the state’s head of state, by organizing a gathering on Indian Independence Day.
He then joined the Praja Mandal Movement, which held protests to push for constitutional amendments in the state. As a result, the Nawab fled to Pakistan, and Junagarh became part of the Indian Union. His political leaders were drawn to him because of his passion and active participation in politics.
In 1949, a new Socialist party arose from the Congress, which he was a member of at the time. He began campaigning for his preferred candidates in Junagarh’s impending municipal elections, which ultimately resulted in their victory. Despite being given a position in the Party, he turned down the opportunity to pursue his true passion.
He put his political ambitions aside and focused on academics, taking his matriculation examinations. However, due to his father’s sick health and the family’s impoverished living situation, he had to forego his schooling and accept a work offer in Aden.
Career of Dhirubhai Ambani
He got a clerical work at A. Besse & Co, the largest transcontinental trade concern east of Suez, when he arrived in Aden. The firm traded in a wide range of products to European, American, African, and Asian businesses.
He began working for a Gujarati trading firm at the same time, eager to learn the ropes of the trade. He learned accounting, bookkeeping, and how to prepare shipping papers and documents there. He also learned how to work with banks and insurance firms.
Soon after, he began speculative trading in a variety of goods and made profitable deals, which led his competition to believe he had a sense for business. He was later promoted to the newly constructed harbour’s oil filling station. It was there that the idea of constructing a refinery first arose in his mind.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni independence movement limited chances for Indians in Aden. As a result, he returned to India in 1958 and began looking for business prospects in Bombay.
He settled as a spice merchant under the company Reliance Commercial Corporations because he couldn’t make huge investments. Soon after, he began selling spices, sugar, jaggery, betel nuts, and other items with the Gulf Emirates. He emphasized low profit margins, large volume, and good quality.
Not one to rest on his laurels, he quickly moved his concentration to yarn trading, which, while posing greater dangers, also offered higher returns. Starting modest, he quickly grew his yarn business to the point that he was chosen a director of the Bombay Yarn Merchants Association.
His foresight and ability to judge helped him land two of the most lucrative yarn transactions in the industry, providing him with the cash flow he needed to launch Reliance Textiles. In 1966, he accomplished his dream of opening a manufacturing unit by opening a textile mill in Naroda, Ahmedabad.
Every weekend, he flew from Bombay to Ahmedabad to monitor the factory’s progress and troubleshoot any issues that arose among the workers. His main goal was to make the highest grade nylon in the shortest time and in the largest volumes possible.
To expedite the factory’s construction, he increased the staff. However, the project costs were made more expensive due to a global reduction in the value of the rupee. Nonetheless, not one to back down from a challenge, he persevered with the endeavor.
The building work was completed by August 1966, and the equipment and machinery were being installed in order to meet the September 1 deadline for beginning output. Meanwhile, he gathered a workforce of 35 men to work at the plant from Calcutta, Indore, and Bombay. On September 1, 1966, production began as expected, but it took a few months to reach a steady state.
His aspirations began to come true in January 1967, when the Naroda factory began producing the highest grade Nylon; nevertheless, the new company had no market buyers, as wholesalers refused to acquire fabric from Reliance at the request of existing major mill owners.
He wasn’t one to give up easily, so he hit the road and began selling his stock straight to merchants. His audacity and bravery wowed everyone, and the market for his fabric, dubbed ‘Vimal,’ blossomed and began to spread quickly. It quickly rose to prominence as the finest and best-selling fashion fabric of the era.
Increased demand resulted in higher sales and profits. With the extra cash, he began expanding his mill by purchasing more machinery and providing better working conditions for his employees. With the entry of a whole new range of fresh and experienced workers, the Reliance family grew vast and affluent.
Reliance had grown to be a massive and prosperous company by 1972, a far cry from its humble beginnings. Three years later, the World Bank gave it an award for excellence, hastening the upgrade and growth of all plant operations.
Mukesh, his oldest son, joined the company in 1981 and began Reliance’s backward integration journey from textiles to polyester fibres, petrochemicals, petroleum refining, and upstream oil and gas exploration and production.
Anil Ambani, his younger son, joined the company in 1983 and became the chief executive officer of Naroda.
Between 1984 and 1996, the mill underwent a major transformation, with automated and high-tech machines replacing the old traditional ones, transforming Reliance into the country’s biggest composite mill.
Telecommunications, information technology, energy, electricity, retail, textiles, infrastructure services, financial markets, and logistics are some of the businesses that Reliance Industries has diversified into over time.
Major Projects of Dhirubhai Ambani
He was the brains of Reliance Group, as well as the starter, conceptualizer, and visualizer. Starting off as a small yarn dealer, he made history by starting Reliance Industries from the ground up and growing it into India’s greatest commercial behemoth.
Dhirubhai changed the way capital markets worked by attracting a huge number of ordinary investors to a market that had previously been dominated by financial institutions. He built India’s ‘equity culture,’ creating billions of rupees in wealth for those who put their faith in his businesses.
The first Indian firm to make the Forbes 500 list was Reliance Industries.
Achievements & Awards
He received various distinctions, including the Dean’s Medal, Lifetime Achievement Award for Corporate Excellence, and Man of the Century award, for his great business acumen and never-say-die mentality, which helped Reliance become one of the most powerful commercial empires in the country and the world. In addition, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry dubbed him “Man of the Century” (FICCI).
He received the ABLF Global Asian Award at the Asian Business Leadership Forum Awards after his death.
Personal History and Legacy
In 1954, he married Kokilaben. Anil Ambani, Mukesh Ambani, Nina Kothari, and Deepti Salgaonkar are the couple’s four children.
After suffering a stroke in 1986, he was forced to give over the keys of the company to his sons.
After suffering a massive stroke, he died on July 6, 2002.
Estimated Net Worth
Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani was an Indian businessman who founded Reliance Industries, a multibillion-dollar petrochemicals, communications, power, and textiles conglomerate. Dhirubhai Ambani net worth is about US $2.9 billion.
Reliance Industries, India’s largest private sector enterprise, was founded by this man from a poor Guajarati family.