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Shiv Nadar: From $3,000 to $6.7 billion a year

Over the past decade and a half, India has seen the business community grow at a rapid pace. Fronting this growth have been a few names who have left an indelible mark on the way we do business in this country. These are people who have shaped the Indian economy. These are people who have changed our lives. These are the Indian Business Icons. As CNBC-TV18 completes 15 years, it gives you the opportunity to select your business icon over the same period. A platform where these leaders will face the verdict that truly matters. Read on and Vote.

Shiv Nadar

Shiv Nadar is no stranger to challenges. When he co-founded Hindustar Computers Limited (HCL) Technologies in 1976, his goal was to build computers for the Indian market. However, Nadar and his team were venturing into the computer business at a time when it seemed like a pipe dream in India. There were no more than 250 computers in the country and no real market for products that were seen as novel conveniences rather than necessities. Government regulations against imports meant that HCL would have to manufacture every component on their own. The worldwide computer industry was also in nascent stage with companies like Apple also just starting out.

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CNBC-TV18 Indian Business Icons (Yahoo India is an online partner) gives you the opportunity to select your top business leader of the past 15 years. 

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Against this background, Nadar persisted. With an initial investment of about $3,000 the need of the hour was more captital. So he launched a digital calculator brand. The profits from this enabled HCL to move towards their goal of building computers. The next steps included building microcomputers from scratch, working to grow the market, change government policy and create a talent base for the company. Persistence paid off as regulations relaxed in the 1980s and HCL was able to import components and purchase source code to quickly put together a personal computer. The government’s ruling that banks had to use UNIX based computers provided an opportunity for HCL to tap into this new market.

At the same time, HCL had ventured into education, to create a talent pool to grow the industry further, helping to set up National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), the first focused IT education institution in the country. Nadar continued to stress on innovation and technological self-reliance, helming HCL through the development of its own relational database management system, a network operation system and client-server architecture. HCL had also successfully entered the computer market in Singapore and was one of India’s largest IT companies by the late 80s. All this inspired HCL’s first venture into the US market, one that did not catch on because of the differences between Indian and American computer manufacturing norms at the time.

Quick to learn from setbacks, Nadar studied the growth in the software industry, with companies like Wipro and Infosys already making waves and re-aligned HCL for growth in the IT software and services space. At the same time, he forged alliances with HP, Nokia and Ericsson which helped drive revenues and bring in much-needed foreign exchange, something that India lacked in at the start of the 90s. With 20 years of entrepreneurship behind him, Nadar was now ready to take on the global software market.

Building new businesses meant more funds were needed; again Nadar found the right pivot for HCL, launching a successful IPO in 1999. By 2005, the company was a global success, developing software for Boeing and engaging in partnerships with the likes of Microsoft and AMD, made possible by Nadar’s unique track record in driving IT excellence. Although HCL is now is now an international technology company with annual revenues of $6.7 billion as of 2014, Nadar is not content to rest on his laurels, driven by the same quest for innovation and entrepreneurship that has made him and his company part of the DNA of IT in India.

VOTE HERE!

CNBC-TV18 Indian Business Icons (Yahoo India is an online partner) gives you the opportunity to select your top business leader of the past 15 years.

Vote via Facebook

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Missed Call: 18002660925

Click here for more on CNBC-TV18 Indian Business Icons