New York, Sept. 12: India’s software czar Azim Premji now has a new nomenclature — the world’s richest Muslim entrepreneur — as he holds more wealth than any other Muslim outside the Persian Gulf royalty, the Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page profile. The newspaper said Mr Premji, chairman of India’s third-largest IT exporter Wipro, defies all the conventional wisdom about Islamic tycoons — he does not hail from the Persian Gulf, did not make his money in petroleum, and does not wear his faith on his sleeve.
“Azim Premji has tapped India’s abundant engineering talent to transform a family vegetable-oil firm, Wipro Ltd, into a technology and outsourcing giant. By serving Western manufacturers, airlines and utilities, the company has brought Premji a fortune of some $17 billion,” the report said. Mr Premji is ahead of Russia’s metal and real estate baron Suleman Kerimov ($14 billion), Kuwait’s Nasser Kharafi ($11 billion), Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Amoudi ($8 billion), the UAE’s Abdulaziz Ghurair ($8 billion), Russia’s Iskander Mahmudov ($8 billion), and Saudi Arabia’s Maan Sanea and Suleiman Rajhi ($7.5 billion each) among the richest Muslim entrepreneurs in the world.
The daily quoted Mr Premji in the report, titled “How a Muslim Billionaire Thrives in Hindu India”, as saying that such success shows globalisation is turning into “two-way traffic” that can bring tangible benefits to developing countries. “We have always seen ourselves as Indian. We’ve never seen ourselves as Hindus, or Muslims, or Christians or Buddhists,” Mr Premji told.