Source: News Bharati English27 Sep 2016 16:32:04

“Family”: The Hero of Indian Business

Forbes magazine has recently published a list of India’s richest people. 

Following are some of the headlines in different media covering the above news. 

Patanjali's Balkrishna enters Forbes rich list with $2.5 bn

Forbes India rich list takeaways: Stormy debut of Acharya Balkrishna at 48 spot, Flipkart's Bansals fall off

Patanjali’s Acharya Balkrishna enters Forbes rich list; Flipkart’s Bansals out

Forbes names Mukesh Ambani as India’s richest for ninth year

Gujaratis dominate Forbes India rich list

Going by the coverage, it is obvious that the biggest cause of heartburn in Indian media is the fact that Acharya Balkrishna has made to the list. Firstpost did a full story on Acharya Balkrishna.


Some headline suggests that as if they have a problem with Gujratis while some headline suggests that they have an issue with Mukesh Ambani being named for the 9th time. Anyway very rarely Indian media does a positive story.

The real hero in the Forbes list of rich Indian is the “Indian Family”.

The list ranks few by individual name and few as family e.g. Mukesh Ambani  is listed as individual while Sunil Mittal is listed as Sunil Mittal & Family.

We couldn’t find the definition of family, but the list of 100, has 30 families. Besides these 30 there are 7 names which are a pair of brothers like Shahsi & Ravi Ruia, Sudhir and Samir Mehta etc.

So put together there are 37 families out of 100 names.

In 2015, Credit Suisse introduced the CS Global Family 900 universe- a database of the 920 largest family-owned companies in the world. Companies on the list are publicly-traded with market capitalization's of at least $1 billion, as well as family-owned stakes of at least 20 percent.

The 920 companies were from 35 countries, with more than 64 percent coming from Emerging Asia. The list has a significant number of the family managed companies from India.


According to this report, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries is also a family business. If one goes by the definition of the family business of Credit Suisse, most of the companies in Forbes list will fall into the category of family business.

These figures convey that family firms are not only robust, vibrant and successful but are also highly ambitious and are delivering solid profits even in an uncertain economic environment.

In a nutshell, “family” is the backbone of successful Indian business. There is nothing new. In India business was always in the hand of family and not the individual. According to Indian traditions, it is the “Family” which is the smallest unit, unlike western society where “Individual” is the smallest unit.

The list of 100 has representation from all parts of India. The list has owners of biscuit companies to airlines; tractor manufacturers to software companies representing more than 40 categories of business.

These companies represent a different era. The list has Yusuf Hamied of Cipla, founded in 1835 to Glen Saldhana of Glenmark, founded in 1977; both from Pharma. There is Anand Burman off Dabur, founded in 1884 to Acharya Balakrishna of Patanjali, founded in 2006; both representing Ayurveda.  The undoubtedly family has been the backbone of Indian business; it doesn’t matter if we are talking about “mom and pop stores” and “mega giants”.

The success of Indian family managed business comes from the fact that they have an absolutely clear understanding of their business. It is evident from the PwC’s Family Business Survey of 2012-13.

The section “What the future holds: Indian family businesses in 2017” states: “Indian family businesses continue to be bullish about their growth plans despite the recent economic slowdown. One in three of our respondents aims to grow quickly and aggressively over the next five years. Among our Indian respondents, 74% of the companies have had a robust growth in the last 12 months. 94% of the companies interviewed have indicated that they are likely to grow aggressively (36%) or steadily (58%) over the next five years. Virtually, all these companies are confident about meeting their goals.”

We are at the end of 2016 and going on the 2016 Forbes list, one can safely conclude that Indian Family Business were correct in their forecast and plan for growth, after all, the minimum amount required to make the list of top 100, is now $1.25 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2015.

India needs successful business ventures and successful business ventures need a family. The family is the real hero of successful Indian business.

Kamal Poddar, MD, Choice International and Sandeep Singh, founder Views expressed are personal and not of the organisation.