Tata: the industrial conglomerate that lies at the heart of India’s success on the global business stage.
For almost two centuries, the Tata Group has pioneered multiple industries in India and remains a market leader in most of them.
You’ve probably heard of Tata Motors, their car division, but as you’ll soon find out, their reach extends far beyond that one subsidiary.
In this video, we’ll go through through three generations of Tata businessmen to see how they built one of India’s most successful companies.
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The story of Tata begins during the reign of the British Empire.
India back then was a huge exporter of cotton, but the brutal regime of the British East India Company left little room for local entrepreneurs to develop.
The poor treatment by the British eventually resulted in a rebellion against them, in 1857, which ended the power of the British East India Company and replaced it with the British Raj.
Now, compared to its ruthless predecessor, the Raj was much more focused on keeping the peace. The Raj didn’t exploit the Indian population quite as harshly and it also invested a lot of money in building India’s first railways for example.
Of course, at the end of the day, the British Raj was still an oppressive colonial power, but at least it finally gave the local population the economic opportunity to develop themselves.
Because India was an exporting country, the first Indian entrepreneurs came from exactly that sector and one of them was Jamsetji Tata. He was the son of an exporter in Mumbai and he graduated in 1858, exactly the perfect time to take advantage of the economic reforms of the British Raj.
Because his father’s export business was growing, in 1859 Jamsetji went to Hong Kong to develop a subsidiary there and upon seeing the sheer scale of British commerce there, he realized that the Tata export business had truly global potential.
Over the course of the next decade he would travel to Japan, China and Great Britain, establishing a network of distribution for his father’s business. He’d eventually create his own exporting company in 1868 and using the money he made, he started building textile mills of his own, effectively creating a vertically-integrated business.