British Asians dominate wealth chart

London, September 30 :

Asians in Britain are today richer than they were in 1998 and are moving into higher value sectors such as IT, pharmaceuticals and the media, according to new research.

In fact, the rate at which Asians have been generating wealth far outstrips that of mainstream economic variables, said the ‘Asian Entrepreneurs in the UK’ study released by Barclays Business Banking. The research was conducted by Spinder Dhaliwal, lecturer in entrepreneurship at Surrey University. Analysing the wealth of Britain’s 200 richest Asians between 1998 and 2005, the research revealed that Asian wealth increased by 69 per cent compared to the overall GDP growth figure of 22.8 per cent.

The move away from traditional industries such as textiles and manufacturing to highly lucrative sectors has resulted in the entry level for joining the top 200 Asian wealth creators more than doubling from two million pounds in 1998 to five million pounds in 2005. Number one in the survey was Mike Jatania who, with his family, owns the branded cosmetics company, Lornamead, valued at 650 million pounds. He is followed by the Patel brothers, Vijay and Bikhu, worth 455 million pounds who have been on a 30-year mission long to create an ‘Asian Glaxo’.

Third on the list is Lord Swraj Paul, ambassador for Overseas British Business, whose Caparo group has sales of 650 million pounds. He is a member of the Lords select committees for science and technology and economic affairs, and is chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton.

The pharmaceuticals industry is now the largest source of Asian wealth in Britain. Wealth generated by Asian women within the top 200 more than quadrupled between 1998 and 2005, with the number of women listed within their own right doubling within the same period. An example is Mohammed Amin Zaman, founder of Bradford-based Craven Computer Supplies. Established in 1996, the company, which provides a one-stop shop for a range of computer supplies, has a turnover of around one million pounds and ambitious expansion plans.

Zaman said, “Whenever there is a niche market Asian businessmen are keen to exploit it. When I set up this business I was keen to make an impact away from the traditional markets such as restaurants which are overpopulated. We pride ourselves on good customer service and sheer hard work.”

Satish Kanabar, corporate director, Barclays Business Banking, said, “Asian wealth is now built on a much broader base of entrepreneurs who are challenging traditional stereotypes and making serious money in hi-tech industries. As a result, Asian wealth creation is more important than its headline contribution to overall economic growth would indicate. Asian entrepreneurs are actually in the vanguard of the UK’s emerging high-tech, service economy.” This year’s Asian Rich List, published in April, included IIT-educated Anurag Dikshit, the 34-year-old software designer and co-founder of online gambling firm PartyGaming. His stake is estimated to be worth 1.7 billion pounds and he enters this year’s Rich List at number three.

In 1998, almost two-thirds of Asian wealth was generated by the top 20 entries in the rich list. Their contribution was just one third of overall wealth in 2005. Over the same period, wealth generated by women listed in their own right quadrupled to 87.5 million pounds from 21 million pounds.