The Ambanis are building one of the world’s biggest zoos in Gujarat, the family’s home state where its conglomerate, Reliance Industries Ltd., operates the largest oil-refining complex. The animal venture, which will also include 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 declined to comment on the cost of the project or give further details.
The Ambanis are worth about $80 billion, with an empire that has expanded to tech and e-commerce. On the side, they also own the Mumbai Indians cricket team and started a soccer league in 2014. As the family fortune grew, the clan has increased its focus on public-facing ventures – Mukesh’s wife, Nita, 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.”