Sunil B. Mittal transformed his small bicycle-parts business into a telephone-equipment maker, and now India's premier cellular operator. In 1994, Bharti Telecom Ltd. resisted bidding on government licenses in south India. But by 1999, many rivals had faltered. Mittal spent $225 million for three licenses, spurring consolidation. Impressed, Singapore Telecom paid $400 million for 20% of Bharti. Bharti is growing at 50% a year--and unlike most competitors, makes a profit.

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