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What does it take to build a business empire

Binod K Chaudhary, the chairman of the CG Corp Global conglomerate group, is Nepal's first billionaire and possibly the most successful industrialist in his nation. He spoke at the Bangladesh Business Awards 2020, an initiative of The Daily Star. I recently had the privilege of reading his memoir, Making it Big (India Portfolio, 2016), in which he looks back upon his professional journey.

As the book recounts, Binod Chaudhary's family worked primarily in the textile business. Binod's father, the late Shri Lunkaran Das Chaudhary, and grandfather, Bhuramal Chaudhary, stepped into a valiant journey, walking through the streets of Kathmandu to sell their products. Instead of learning about the world of business through textbooks and academic degrees, ten-year-old Shri Lunkaran started learning the trade from his own father. They set up their first proper clothing shop in 1934. Decades later, in 1968, Shri Lunkaran would start Arun's Emporium, Nepal's first department store catering to women, men, and children. Yet what felt like a dream shattered when he invested in several businesses only to see no promising returns.

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WKND Conversation: Meet Binod Chaudhary, Nepal's first and only billionaire

Nepali entrepreneur Binod Chaudhary, on building an empire tapping

on gastronomical cravings and why Taj JLT is a culmination of a life-long dream

Dr Binod Chaudhary, 65, is Nepal biggest export to the world after Mount Everest. Chaudhary, whose net worth is estimated at $1.6 billion (Dh5.88b), is the picturesque yet impoverished Himalayan nation first and only billionaire and has accumulated his wealth over the past four decades.

The affable and dapper Chaudhary, the head of CG Corp Global, is a proud third-generation Nepalese national of Indian descent. His grandfather, who belonged to Churi-Ajitgarh village from Rajasthan, had shifted his base to Nepal around 140 years ago to set up a textile business. Chaudhary, who is ethnically a Marwari, has business in his gene. He reminisces about bootstrapping his fanciful business concepts into a money-spinning reality. Wealth creation, he recalls, is his unbridled passion, as he's not born with the proverbial silver spoon.

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Nepal’s noodle king harbours India expansion plans

Billionaire Binod Chaudhary, the man behind Wai Wai instant

noodles, is diversifying his food business and has plans for an

IPO soon.

Binod Chaudhary, the only billionaire entrepreneur from Nepal who is best known for starting instant noodle brand Wai Wai says that 2020 was a mixed bag for his group of companies which straddle construction, hospitality, wellness, and FMCG products.

Chaudhary, whose CG Corp Global is one of the largest management contract partners with Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL, which runs the Taj group of hotels), also operates hotels under the Fern, Zinc, and Beacon brands, with 78 properties and 4,260 keys. Chaudhary says that while the last year was particularly bad for hospitality, he had expected more resilience from the Indian market and was surprised at the downturn that ensued as fast as it did.

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‘Will people start travelling the way they used to?

Binod Chaudhary has built an empire of 160 companies and 123 brands across the world since taking over a small textile business from his father in the late 1960s. Considered Nepals first billionaire, his empire, Chaudhary Group (CG) Corp Global, has interests across the sectors, from producing noodles in Serbia to providing telecommunications services in Moldova and running a luxury hotel in the Philippines.
As a major global investor, Covid-19 has forced Mr Chaudhary to make major adjustments, particularly at CG Hospitality, which counted 94 hotels in operation in early 2019, where properties have been repositioned with a certain degree of success to domestic travellers as international tourism came to a halt.
Q: How has the pandemic affected the way the CG Corp Global does business?
A: The brighter side of what we have experienced is clearly the digital connection that the world has discovered, and everyone has applied in their own private and professional life. The new normal has taught companies to use digital technologies, to have more virtual meetings and come up with new solutions, which eventually bring better efficiencies, cut red tape and bureaucracy and save time. It also eliminates the need for too much of a support system in terms of logistics.
At CG Corp Global, we have operations in 27 countries across the world. I used to travel 20 days a month half of my life used to be up in the air on planes. The same applied to many of our senior executives. That was not a very efficient way of spending our time. Nowadays, I travel only to our global offices and I stay there longer than I used to. Zoom is the new way of life and it works extremely well actually, it works better than before. Its a very efficient way of using time and resources. A lot of new innovations are taking place as substitutions of old habits. There are so many different fast-breaking changes that the corporate world is likely to follow.
Q: What strategic adjustments have you implemented?

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