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Nepali makes Forbes list for first time
Publication Date : 05-03-2013
For the first time ever, a Nepali businessman has made it to the Forbes’ billionaire list. The New York-based Forbes magazine has placed Chaudhary Group (CG) President Binod Chaudhary in the 1,342nd position in ‘The 2013 Billionaires List.’
According to Forbes, Chaudhary’s net worth is US$1 billion (approximately Rs 88.20 billion). “Binod Chaudhary is Nepal’s first billionaire, but built most of his fortune overseas,” Forbes said.
Chaudhary is among 210 people who joined the Forbes Billionaires ranks this year. Chaudhary shares his ranking with 84 other individuals who have also been ranked the 1,342nd richest people in the globe. Chaudhary has taken the accolade as an honour for all of Nepal. “I am humbled. As a businessman, you don’t get a Nobel. This is my Nobel Prize,” he told the Post. “I see this as a recognition for 40 years of hard work.”
According to Forbes, Chaudhary's Cinnovation/Chaudhary Group owns, among others, popular instant noodle brand Wai Wai, a controlling stake in Nabil Bank and a string of luxury hotels with India’s Taj hotel chain. As rightly written by Forbes, Chaudhary’s business expansion outside Nepal, done shrewdly and smartly, helped him become what he is today. In 2008, Forbes had written, “Chaudhary assembled his overseas empire by tapping into a network of ‘friends and associates’ around the world and forging what he terms ‘strategic partnerships’.”
In his recently published autobiography Binod Chaudhary- Atmakatha, Chaudhary has written that he started looking beyond Nepal seriously in the mid-90s when he lost an election for the post of president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) for the second time. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.
Currently, he has business interests in India, UAE, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Mozambique and the US, mainly in hospitality, real estate, financial services, FMCG and the cement business. Through Zinc Holding, Chaudhary has investments and ventures in 30 hotels and resorts worldwide.
Chaudhary takes pride in his success in the noodles business, particularly with ‘WaiWai’. The brand has now spread wings to 35 countries with an annual production of a billion packets. ‘Wai Wai’ is now India’s second largest selling noodles brand, after Maggi with 16 percent market share. “Our dream is to establish a global empire of Wai Wai. I have confidence that we can achieve it,” he has written in his book.
According to Forbes, the Singapore arm of CG, Cinnovation and other overseas interests are managed by Chaudhary’s sons Rahul and Varun, both Non-Resident Nepalis, while the eldest son, Nirvana, manages domestic businesses. Recently, CG has made foray into the domestic telecom sector, acquiring a majority stake in STM Telecom.