Super Seven

The dream merchant

700 million eyeballs are still too few for the man who revolutionised television viewing in India

Soumik Kar

When Richard Li, a 25-year-old business tycoon from Hong Kong, flew down to India in early 1992, one of the items on his agenda was to call on Subhash Chandra, a relatively small but wealthy businessman, who had agreed to pay $5 million to lease a transponder on Li’s AsiaSat satellite. For Chandra, who was still in his early 40s, this meant he could, by October that year, set up Zee TV, India’s first private Hindi satellite channel. Convincing the often-mercurial Li was not easy, going by Chandra’s earlier experience of negotiating with him in Hong Kong. It was only after Li came to India and was shown Chandra’s existing businesses that the deal was inked.