Phenol, Acetone, Isopropyl Alcohol, Isobutyl Benzene and 2-Acrylamido 2 Methylpropane Sulfonic Acid may sound just as complex chemicals as they are, but for those of India’s chemical entrepreneurs who saw their potential, they are nothing short of rivers of gold.

They foresaw, they invested, they conquered! As a result, if there is any non-digital, non-renewables sector that has seen capital investments despite Covid ravaging the economy in these 3 years, chemicals is right on top.

India is witnessing an unprecedented chemical boom on robust demand from our ever expanding consumption economy; rapid import substitution; and a very vital geo-strategic demand shift away from China as global consumers look for alternatives. Those at the forefront of this boom have innovated rapidly to deliver niche products to world markets that are not just price competitive alternatives to buyers looking for China+1 options but most importantly those that are ESG compliant.

Stock markets have rewarded them handsomely, catapulting many of them into the billionaire club.

Deepak C. Mehta of Deepak Nitrite, Vinod Saraf of Vinati Organics, Rajendra V. Gogri of Aarti Industries, Unnathan Shekhar of Galaxy Surfactants and Yogesh M. Kothari of Alkyl Amines Chemicals are just a few of the chemical entrepreneurs whose exploits in the industry have not just grown their businesses exponentially but whose personal wealth has also shot through the roof. Even established chemical leaders such as UPL, Atul, Pidilite, SRF, DCM Shriram, GFCL or Coromandel International now have a firmer grip on their segments with rapid capacity expansion and entry into newer areas.

P.B. Jayakumar’s cover story this issue captures this vast complexity of India’s fast-track chemical industry that has come into its own with some bold calls and remarkable innovations.

Next, as investors come to grips with crypto’s notoriously deceptive valuations, a host of platforms have tried to soothe their nerves by offering fixed returns on crypto portfolios. Several platforms are already promising fixed returns between 1% and 250% from locked-in cryptocurrencies. Is it even possible to generate such returns from cryptocurrencies as a certainty? Avneet Kaur spoke to experts to separate the grain from the chaff.

Our Special Package this issue is on India’s $7 billion Luxury Industry where sustainable luxury gets a whole new meaning. Luxury buyers contribute to sustainability by preventing greater use of materials with pre-owned luxury or ‘pre-loved’ products. Do read Ajita Shashidhar’s account of how the ultra-rich indulge in luxury with a conscience call.

Two of my favourites in the package are: Asmita Dey’s story on the luxury brands that are making the earliest moves in metaverse to woo the Gen Z and the millennials; and as French couturier Hubert de Givenchy’s collection goes under the hammer in Paris, Priya Kumari Rana writes on what made him a collectors’ genius.

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