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Azim Premji- The Czar of the Indian IT Industry


Ever wondered why and how Wipro Limited, became one of the most successful IT companies in the world and how it came into existence. Let me tell you a fairy tale that transformed a Vegetable oil manufacturer into a billionaire.

In the year 1945, when India was on its way to get her Independence. Somewhere in Mumbai, Azim Premji was born to M.H Premji on 24th July. Muhammed Hashim Premji was a noted businessman and was popularly known among the folks as the Rice King of Burma.

Post Partition, M.H Premji was offered by Jinnah to go Pakistan after the partition but due to his immense love towards his motherland, he decided to stay in India and serve until his death. 

Azim Premji was sent to the USA to study Electrical Engineering from Stanford University .

In 1966, at the demise of his father , the then 21 year old Azim Premji returned home to take charge of his father’s Western Indian Vegetable products company.

During that time, the company used to manufacture cooking oil under the name Sunflower Vanaspati and a laundry 787, a byproduct of oil. Later, Premji diversified the company to bakery fats, ethnic ingredients based toiletries, hair care soaps, baby toiletries,lighting products and hydraulic cylinders.

However, the EUREKA MOMENT occurred in 1980s when Premji recognised the importance of IT field and changed his company name into WIPRO, stands for Western India Products. It started manufacturing minicomputers with technological collaboration from an American Company namely SENTINEL. This event changed his life as well as the IT sector in India. The company obtained the technology license from Sentinel Computer in the United States and started production of India’s first mini computer. Premji employed managers who were computer literate and professional experience. He learned techniques faster and made hardware an enterprise of high profit. In a short time, Wipro engineers started developing software packages that were not easily available to hardware customers at the time. Generally, American consulting firms used to charge 125-130 dollars per hour, while Indian companies used to pay it at 75-100 dollars per hour. Wipro became one of India’s leading IT companies with revenues of 300 billion rupees.  In the year 2017, India today magazine ranked him 9th in India’s most powerful people. Also, his philanthropic activities are always an inspiration to everyone. He even pledged to donate 7.5 Billion dollars for education in India.

 Late in the month of July 2019, this 74 year old business tycoon passed his torch to his son Rishad Premji. But the saga of the great journey from vegetable oil manufacturer to it leading IT services provider continues.