CG Corp Global’s Nirvana Chaudhary talks expansion, wealth and uplifting Nepal

According to local media, employment and education are the main reasons for the exodus. Chaudhary says a recent political reshuffle also contributed.

“So we need to multiply jobs, multiply our growth, create more industries,” he said, adding that he “wasn’t going anywhere”.

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The 41-year-old, who is based in Nepal with his wife and two children, leads the Chaudhary Group as its managing director, with direct control over 11 of the conglomerate’s businesses while his two younger brothers manage the others.

The family’s business interests span banks, hotels, factories and industrial estates, as well as the popular Wai Wai brand of instant noodles.

Chaudhary told This Week in Asia that his dream is to “create small universes under a big universe”, vertically integrating the family’s businesses to eventually create a one-stop shop for customers.

The Kathmandu Valley. The Chaudhary Group’s business interests span banks, hotels, factories and industrial estates in the mountainous Himalayan nation. Photo: Getty Images

But he says he wants to expand the Chaudhary Group in a measured and disciplined way. For starters, he is bound by governance rules set by the group’s family-run investment council, as well as “standard operating procedures” for everything he does with the business.

There is also a professional wealth management team that advises the family on a regular basis.

“Maybe 10 years ago, we used to ‘catch’ any business that came our way, not any more. Today we have established core competences in FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods], hotels, financial services, and by 2027, [according to our mandates] we will be in FMCG, energy, infrastructure and telecoms,” he said.

My country is so poor … That is why I’ve decided that I want to grow and generate large amounts of wealth, so that I can give back to our society

Nirvana Chaudhary, CG Corp Global managing director

“People [also] say as a Nepali company, we are investing more outside [the country], but that’s not true; 80 per cent of our investments are in Nepal.”

Concerns have been raised about the family’s tax compliance after its members were implicated in the Pandora Papers leak of 2021, a sequel to the earlier Panama Papers investigation into tax havens and money laundering.

Binod Chaudhary was among 19 Nepalis found to have set up companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands. The Chaudharys say these investments complied with the law.

Nirvana Chaudhary says he only wants to do right by Nepal’s society, a desire that was cemented by the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the country in 2015.

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“Three hours [after the earthquake], we opened up our schools and colleges as relief camps. And because we have the largest healthcare company, we were able to provide free medical aid to people,” he said. “That year, my purpose changed.

“My country is so poor, and I don’t feel good being the only billionaire [family] in the country. That is why I’ve decided that I want to grow and generate large amounts of wealth, so that I can give back to our society.”

The family has its own philanthropic arm, the Chaudhary Foundation, which focuses on areas such as education, disaster management and healthcare, especially for children, under the motto to “uplift Nepal so that every citizen can aspire to live a safe, healthy and productive life”.

Trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Nirvana Chaudhary completed the arduous trek in 2015. Photo: Getty Images

Nirvana Chaudhary is vice-chair of the foundation, while his father is chairman.

“It’s a family collective vision to do more in philanthropy to give more back,” he said. “My father told us that you might have the best room in a boat but if that boat is sinking, what’s the point of having that room?”

The Nepali businessman likes to show his love for his mountainous homeland in other ways as well. In 2015, he completed the arduous trek to the base of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain that straddles Nepal’s border with China.

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