BRITAIN'S ASIANS ARE A Pounds 7bn SUCCESS; Business Skill Takes Bosses into League of the Mega-Rich

Article excerpt

THE expanding role of Asians in Britain's economic success was revealed yesterday.

A list of the 200 richest Asians in the UK showed they were worth a staggering pounds 7billion.

And that wealth has been achieved through business success in a wide range of industries, including fashion, finance and pharmaceuticals.

Asian entrepreneurs have also made their name in retailing, information technology, engineering and hotel and catering.

The rich list includes eight Scots - all based in Glasgow.

Top of the Scots is Amarjit Sandhu, 62, whose business interests stretch across the world and include import, export, wholesale, and retail ventures.

He has an estimated fortune of pounds 35million. But that only makes him 29th in the overall British list.

The richest Asians in Britain are brothers Srichand and Gopi Hinduja, whose London-based worldwide chain of companies is valued at pounds 1.3billion.

Scotland's second wealthiest Asian businessman this year is tycoon Maqbool Rasul, who owns the Global Video chain of stores.

His story is typical of many prominent British Asian businessmen who have built up their fortunes from the humblest of beginnings.

Originally from Faisalabad in Pakistan, he grew up as one of 11 children in the Gorbals.

His firm now has 240 stores and is expanding and he has a personal fortune which is estimated to be at least pounds 30million.

Labour MP Mohammad Sarwar is third on the rich list.

The Glasgow Govan MP, who was last month cleared of electoral fraud and attempting to pervert the course of justice, has a fortune worth pounds 10million .

Also named is Imitaz Sher, of Sher Brothers' clothes wholesalers, who is worth pounds 10million, and Raju and Sunny Tuli, who own The Jean Scene.

Together, the eight Scots listed are worth more than pounds 112million.

Sarwar Ahmed, editor of Eastern Eye newspaper, who published the list, said: "We started this project three years ago and it's fascinating to see the growth of Asian wealth in the UK. The lowest entry this year came in at pounds 5million.

"It's also interesting to note that there is a definite broadening of the industries that Asians are investing in."

Glasgow city councillor Muhammad Shoaib said the city has made the Asian community very welcome and helped foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

He said: "The majority of people have come from Faisalabad, which has a background of commerce.

"Also, Glasgow has accepted the Asian community. There has always been a cosmopolitan element in the city which helped. …