“There is a need to rethink and redefine manufacturing in India. We need to strengthen our small and medium scale enterprises,” Ambani said at an online book launch on Monday evening, in response to a question on what can make Indian manufacturing more competitive. “There should be a focus on bricks as much as clicks.”
The comments from Asia’s richest man come as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is trying to revive an economy poised for a historic annual contraction, following a lockdown that decimated industries and destroyed millions of jobs.
Reliance, which is pivoting from the energy operations Ambani inherited from his father toward retail and digital services, has announced investments worth more than $25 billion from foreign investors in recent months. Ambani has increasingly been looking to partner smaller businesses, start-ups and mom-and-pop stores to serve as the last mile support for Reliance’s e-commerce plans.
When asked about the legacy he’d like to leave behind, Ambani outlined three areas -- making India a digital society in ways never imagined before, boosting India’s education system, and transformation of the energy sector to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
“If I can play my small part in achieving this, if I can create institutions to perpetuate and sustain these objectives, then I would have done my bit,” Ambani said.