Komodo dragons, cheetahs and birds: It’s just the latest project for Asia’s richest family.
The Ambanis are constructing a zoo in Gujarat that will be amongst the largest in the world. Gujarat is also the family’s home state where its conglomerate, Reliance Industries Ltd., operates the largest oil-refining complex along with various other services such as telecom. The animal venture, which will also comprise of a rescue center to support the local government, is scheduled to open in 2023, according to Parimal Nathwani, corporate affairs director at Reliance.
A Reliance representative refused to comment on the cost of the project or give further details.
The Ambanis can be valued at approximately $80 billion, with an empire that has reached into tech and e-commerce. Apart from this they also own the Mumbai Indians cricket team and began a soccer league in 2014. As their fortune grew, the family has increased its emphasis on public-facing ventures – Nita Ambani even joined the board of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2019.
“They have the economic horsepower to turn fantasy into reality,” said Rebecca Gooch, director of research at Campden Wealth, referring to why billionaires might put their cash into quirky ventures. “Investing in public spaces can help both a family’s and its company’s image, in turn aiding profitability and mitigating potentially negative exposure. It can also affirm a wealth holder’s standing in society and publicly cement a family’s legacy well into the future.”